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A  SELECT  LIBRARY 


OF 


NICENE  AND  POST-NICENE  FATHERS 


OF 


THE  CHRISTIAN  CHURCH. 


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TRANSLATED  INTO  ENGLISH  WITH  PROLEGOMENA  AND  EXPLANATORY  NOTES. 


VOLUMES    I. -VII. 
UNDER   THE    EDITORIAL    SUPERVISION    OF 


PHILIP  SCHAFF,  D.D.,  LL.D., 

Professor  of  Church  History  in  tlie 
Union  Tlieological  Seminary,  New  York. 


AND 


HENRY  WAGE,  D.D., 

Principal  of  King's  College, 
London  4 


IN  CONNECTION  WITH  A    NUMBER   OF  PATRISTIC  SCHOLARS  OF  EUROPE 

AND  AMERICA. 


VOLUME   XI. 

SULPITIUS   SEVERUS. 

VINCENT  OF  LERINS. 

JOHN   CASSIAN. 


NEW   YORK: 

THE   CHRISTIAN   LITERATURE   COMPANY. 

OXFORD    AND    LONDON: 
PARKER  &  COMPANY. 

1894. 


II 


Copyright,  1894, 
By  the  christian  LITERATURE  COMrANY 


^S-'1(o1 


Press  of  J.  J.  Little  &  Co. 
Astor  Place,  New  York. 


CONTENTS   OF   VOLUME    XI. 


SULPITIUS    SEVERUS.  Page 
By  Alexander  Roberts,  D.D.,  Professor  of  Humanity,  St.  Andrews,  Scotland. 

Life i 

Life  of  St.  Martin 3 

Letters 18 

Dialogues 24 

Doubtful  Letters , 55 

Sacred  History 71 

VINCENT   OF   LfiRINS. 

By  C.  a.  Heurtley,  D.D.,  Lady  Margaret's  Professor  of  Divinity  in  the  University 
of  Oxford  and  Canon  of  Christ  Church. 

Introduction 127 

A  Commonitory 131 

Appendices 1 57-159 

JOHN   CASSIAN. 

By  Edgar  C.  S.  Gibson,  M.A.     Principal  of  the  Theological  College,  Wells,  Somerset. 

Prolegomena 183 

The  Twelve  Books  on  the  Institutes  of  the  Ccenobia   201 

•  The  Conferences,  Part  I.  (i.-x.) 291 

The  Conferences,  Part  II.  (xi.-xvii.) 411 

The  Conferences,  Part  III.  (xviii.-xxiv.) 475 

The  Seven  Books  on  the  Incarnation  of  the  Lord,  Against  Nestorius  547 


THE  WORKS  OF  SULPITIUS  SEVERUS. 


TRANSLATED, 


WITH  PREFACE,  AND  NOTES, 


BY 


REV.   ALEXANDER   ROBERTS,    D.  D., 

PROFESSOR  OF  HUMANITY,  UNIVERSITY  OF  ST.  ANDREWS,  SCOTLAND. 


LIFE  AND  WRITINGS  OF  SULPITIUS  SEVERUS. 


—>o>ei.cx^ 


SuLPiTius  (or  Sulpicius)  Severus  was  born  in  Aquitania  about  a.d.  363,  and  died,  as  is  gener- 
ally supposed,  in  a.d.  420.  He  was  thus  a  contemporary  of  the  two  great  Fathers  of  the  Church, 
St.  Jerome  and  St.  Augustine.  The  former  refers  to  him  in  his  Commentary  on  the  36th  chapter 
of  Ezekiel  as  "our  friend  Severus."  St.  Augustine,  again,  having  occasion  to  allude  to  him  in 
his  205th  letter,  describes  him  as  "a  man  excelling  in  learning  and  wisdom."  Sulpitius  belonged 
to  an  illustrious  family.  He  was  very  carefully  educated,  and  devoted  himself  in  his  early  years 
to  the  practice  of  oratory.  He  acquired  a  high  reputation  at  the  bar ;  but,  while  yet  in  the 
prime  of  life,  he  resolved  to  leave  it,  and  seek,  in  company  with  some  pious  friends,  contentment 
and  peace  in  a  life  of  retirement  and  religious  exercises.  The  immediate  occasion  of  this  resolu- 
tion was  the  premature  death  of  his  wife,  whom  he  had  married  at  an  early  age,  and  to  whom  he 
was  deeply  attached.  His  abandonment  of  the  pleasures  and  pursuits  of  the  world  took  place 
about  A.D.  392  ;  and,  notwithstanding  all  the  entreaties  and  expostulations  of  his  father,  he 
continued,  from  that  date  to  his  death,  to  lead  a  life  of  the  strictest  seclusion.  Becoming  a 
Presbyter  of  the  Church,  he  attached  himself  to  St.  Martin  of  Tours,  for  whom  he  ever  after- 
wards cherished  the  profoundest  admiration  and  affection,  and  whose  extraordinary  career  he  has 
traced  with  a  loving  pen  in  by  far  the  most  interesting  of  his  works. 

It  is  stated  by  some  ancient  writers  that  Sulpitius  ultimately  incurred  the  charge  of  heresy, 
having,  to  some  extent,  embraced  Pelagian  opinions.  And  there  have  not  been  wanting  those  in 
modern  times  who  thought  they  could  detect  traces  of  such  errors  in  his  works.  But  it  seems  to 
us  that  there  is  no  ground  for  any  such  conclusion.  Sulpitius  constantly  presents  himself  to  us 
as  a  most  strenuous  upholder  of  "  catholic  "  or  "  orthodox  "  doctrines.  It  is  evident  that  his 
whole  heart  was  engaged  in  the  love  and  maintenance  of  these  doctrines  :  he  counts  as  his 
"friends"  those  only  who  consistently  adhered  to  them;  and,  while  by  no  means  in  favor  of 
bitterly  prosecuting  or  severely  punishing  "  heretics,"  he  shrunk  with  abhorrence  from  all  thought 
of  communion  with  them.  Perhaps  the  most  striking  impression  we  receive  from  a  perusal  of 
his  writings  is  his  sincerity.  We  may  often  feel  that  he  is  over-credulous  in  his  acceptance  of  the 
miraculous  ;  and  we  may  lament  his  narrowness  in  clinging  so  tenaciously  to  mere  ecclesiastical 
formulae  ;  but  we  are  always  impressed  with  the  genuineness  of  his  convictions,  and  with  his 
fervent  desire  to  bring  what  he  believed  to  be  truth  under  the  attention  of  his  readers. 

The  style  of  Sulpitius  is,  upon  the  whole,  marked  by  a  considerable  degree  of  classical  purity 
and  clearness.  He  has  been  called  "  the  Christian  Sallust,"  and  there  are  not  a  few  obvious 
resemblances  between  the  two  writers.  But  some  passages  occur  in  Sulpitius  which  are  almost, 
if  not  entirely,  unintelligible.  This  is  owing  partly  to  the  uncertainty  of  the  text,  and  partly  to 
the  use  of  terms  which  had  sprung  up  since  classical  times,  and  the  exact  import  of  which  it  is 
impossible  to  determine.  In  executing  our  version  of  this  author  (now  for  the  first  time,  we 
believe,  translated  into  English),  we  have  had  constantly  before  us  the  editions  of  Sigonius 
(1609),  of  Hornius  (1664),  of  Vorstius  (1709),  and  of  Halm  (1866).  We  have  also  consulted 
a  very  old  French  translation  of  the  Historia  Sacra,  published  at  Rouen  in  1580. 


2  LIFE   AND    WRITINGS    OF    SULPITIUS    SEVERUS. 

The  order  in  which  we  have  arranged  the  writings  of  Sulpitius  is  as  follows  :  — 

1.  Life  of  St.  Martin. 

2.  Letters  (undoubted). 

3.  Dialogues. 

4.  Letters  (doubtful). 

5.  Sacred  History. 

By  far  the  most  attractive  of  these  works  are  those  bearing  on  the  life  and  achievements  of 
St.  Martin.  Sulpitius  delights  to  return  again  and  again  to  this  wonderful  man,  and  cannot  find 
language  sufficiently  strong  in  which  to  extol  his  merits.  Hence,  not  only  in  the  professed 
Life,  but  also  in  the  Letters  and  Dialogues,  we  have  him  brought  very  fully  before  us.  The 
reader  will  find  near  the  beginning  of  the  Vita  as  translated  by  us,  a  note  bearing  upon  the 
solemn  asseverations  of  Sulpitius  as  to  the  reality  of  the  miracles  which  Martin  performed. 

]\Iost  of  the  Letters  here  given  are  deemed  spurious  by  Halm,  the  latest  editor  of  our  author. 
He  has,  nevertheless,  included  the  whole  of  them  in  his  edition,  and  we  have  thought  it  desirable 
to  follow  his  example  in  our  translation. 

The  Sacred  History  of  Sulpitius  has  for  its  object  to  present  a  compendious  history  of  the 
world  from  the  Creation  down  to  the  year  a.d.  400.  The  first  and  longer  portion  of  the  work  is 
simply  an  abridgment  of  the  Scripture  narrative.  The  latter  part  is  more  interesting  and 
valuable,  as  it  deals  with  events  lying  outside  of  Scripture,  and  respecting  which  we  are  glad  to 
obtain  information  from  all  available  sources.  Unfortunately,  however,  Sulpitius  is  not  always 
a  trustworthy  authority.  His  inaccuracies  in  the  first  part  of  his  work  are  very  numerous,  and  will 
be  found  pointed  out  in  our  version. 

The  following  are  some  of  the  Estimates  which  have  been  formed  of  our  author. 

Paulinus,  a  contemporary  of  Sulpitius,  and  bishop  of  Nola,  addressed  to  him  about  fifty  letters, 
in  the  fifth  of  which  he  thus  writes  :  "  It  certainly  would  not  have  been  given  to  thee  to  draw 
up  an  account  of  Martin,  unless  by  a  pure  heart  thou  hadst  rendered  thy  mouth  worthy  of  uttering 
his  sacred  praises.  Thou  art  blessed,  therefore,  of  the  Lord,  inasmuch  as  thou  hast  been  able,  in 
worthy  style,  and  with  proper  feeling,  to  complete  the  history  of  so  great  a  priest,  and  so 
illustrious  a  confessor.  Blessed,  too,  is  he,  in  accordance  with  his  merits,  who  has  obtained  a 
historian  worthy  of  his  faith  and  of  his  life  ;  and  who  has  become  consecrated  to  the  Divine 
glory  by  his  own  virtues,  and  to  human  memory  by  thy  narrative  regarding  him." 

Gennadius  (died  a.d.  496),  in  his  "Catalogue  of  illustrious  men,"  says:  "The  Presbyter 
Severus,  whose  cognomen  was  Sulpitius,  belonged  to  the  province  of  Aquitania.  He  was  a  man 
distinguished  both  for  his  family  and  learning,  and  was  remarkable  for  his  love  of  poverty  and 
humility.  He  was  also  a  great  friend  of  some  holy  men,  such  as  Martin,  bishop  of  Tours,  and 
Paulinus,  bishop  of  Nola ;  and  his  works  are  by  no  means  to  be  neglected." 

In  modern  times,  J.  J.  Sc'h.Iiger  has  said  of  Sulpitius,  "He  is  the  purest  of  all  the  ecclesiastical 
writers."  And  Vossius,  referring  to  some  remarks  of  Baronius  on  Sulpitius,  says :  "  I  differ 
from  him  (Baronius)  in  this,  that,  without  sufficient  care,  he  calls  Gennadius  the  contemporary  of 
Severus,  since  Gennadius  flourished  seventy  years,  more  or  less,  after  Severus.  For  he  dedicated 
his  book  'On  Faith'  (as  he  himself  tells  us)  to  Pope  Gelasius,  who  became  bishop  of  Rome  in 
A.D.  492.  But  he  greatly  extols  the  holiness  of  Sulpitius;  and  in  the  Roman  martyrology  his 
memory  (i.e.  of  Sulpitius)  is  celebrated  on  the  29th  of  January." 

Archdeacon  Farrar  has  recently  remarked  concerning  Martin  and  Sulpitius,  "  Owing  partly  to 
the  eloquent  and  facile  style  of  his  (Martin's)  biographer,  Sulpicius  Severus,  his  name  was  known 
from  Armenia  to  Egypt  more  widely  than  that  of  any  other  monk  or  bishop  of  his  day."  —  Lives 
of  the  Fathers,  i.  G28. 


SULPITIUS  SEVERUS  ON  THE  LIFE  OF  ST.  MARTIN. 


-1»-Oj0:j<>0- 


PREFACE    TO    DESIDERIUS. 

Severus    to    his    dearest    brother   Desiderius 
sendeth  greeting.     I  had  determined,  my  like- 
minded  brother,  to    keep  private,  and   confine 
within  the  walls  of  my  own  house,  the  little  trea- 
tise which  I  had  written  concerning  the  hfe  of 
St.  Martin.      I  did  so,  as   I  am  not  gifted  with 
much  talent,  and  shrank  from  the  criticisms  of 
the  world,  lest  (as  I  think  will  be  the  case)  my 
somewhat  unpolished  style  should  displease  my 
readers,  and  I  should  be   deemed  highly  worthy 
of  general  reprehension   for  having  too  boldly 
laid  hold  of  a  subject  which  ought  to  have  been 
reserved  for  truly  eloquent  writers.     But  I  have 
not  been  able  to  refuse  your  request  again  and 
again  presented.     For  what  could  there  be  which 
I  would  not  grant  in  deference  to  your  love,  even 
at  the  expense  of  my  own  modesty?     However, 
I  have  submitted  the  work  to  you  on  the  sure 
understanding  that  you  will  reveal  it  to  no  other, 
having   received    your   promise   to   that   effect. 
Nevertheless,  I  have  my  fears  that  you  will  be- 
come the  means  of  its  pubhcation  to  the  world ; 
and  I  well  know  that,  once  issued,  it  can  never  ^ 
be  recalled.    If  this  shall  happen,  and  you  come 
to  know  that  it  is  read  by  some  others,  you  will, 
I  trust,  kindly  ask  the  readers  to  attend  to  the 
facts  related,  rather  than  the  language  in  which 
they  are  set  forth.     You  will  beg  them  not  to 
be  offended  if  the  style  chances  unpleasantly  to 
affect  their  ears,  because  the  kingdom  of  God 
consists  not  of  eloquence,  but  faith.     Let  them 
also  bear  in  mind  that  salvation  was  preached 
to  the  world,  not  by  orators,  but  by  fishermen, 
although  God  could  certainly  have  adopted  the 
other  course,  had  it  been   advantageous.     For 
my  part,  indeed,  when  I  first  applied  my  mind 
to  writing  what  follows,  because  I  thought  it  chs- 
graceful  that  the  excellences  of  so  great  a  man 
should  remain  concealed,  I  resolved  with  my- 
self not  to  feel  ashamed   on  account  of  sole- 
cisms of  language.     This  I  did  because  I  had 
never  attained  to  any  great  knowledge  of  such 
things ;    or,   if  I    had   formerly    some    taste    of 

*  "  Delere  licebit 

Quod  non  edideris:  nescit  vox  missa  revert;." 

—  Hor.  Ari  Poet.  389-90. 


Studies  of  the  kind,  I  had  lost  the  whole  of  that, 
through  having  neglected  these  matters  for  so 
long  a  course  of  time.  But,  after  all,  that  I  may 
not  have  in  future  to  adopt  such  an  irksome 
mode  of  self-defense,  the  best  way  will  be  that 
the  book  should  be  published,  if  you  think  right, 
with  the  author's  name  suppressed.  In  order  that 
this  may  be  done,  kindly  erase  the  title  which 
the  book  bears  on  its  front,  so  that  the  page 
may  be  silent;  and  (what  is  quite  enough)  let 
the  book  proclaim  its  subject-matter,  while  it 
tells  nothing  of  the  author. 


CHAPTER    I. 

Reasons  for  writing  the  Life  of  St.  Martin. 

Most  men  being  vainly  devoted  to  the  pursuit 
of  worldly  glory,  have,  as  they  imagined,  acquired 
a  memorial  of  their  own  names  from  this  source  ; 
viz.  devoting  their  pens  to  the  embellishment  of 
the  lives  of  famous  men.  This  course,  although 
it  did  not  secure  for  them  a  lasting  reputation, 
still  has  undoubtedly  brought  them  some  fulfil- 
ment of  the  hope  they  cherished.  It  has  done 
so,  both  by  preserving  their  own  memory,  though 
to  no  purpose,  and  because,  through  their  having 
presented  to  the  world  the  examples  of  great 
men,  no  small  emulation  has  been  excited  in 
the  bosoms  of  their  readers.  Yet,  notwithstand- 
ing these  things,  their  labors  have  in  no  degree 
borne  upon  the  blessed  and  never-ending  life  to 
which  we  look  forward.  For  what  has  a  glory, 
destined  to  perish  with  the  world,  profited  those 
men  themselves  who  have  written  on  mere  secu- 
lar matters?  Or  what  benefit  has  posterity 
derived  from  reading  of  Hector  as  a  warrior,  or 
Socrates  as  an  expounder  of  philosophy  ?  There 
can  be  no  profit  in  such  things,  since  it  is  not 
only  folly  to  imitate  the  persons  referred  to,  but 
absolute  madness  not  to  assail  them  with  the 
utmost  severity.  For,  in  truth,  those  persons 
who  estimate  human  life  only  by  present  actions, 
have  consigned  their  hopes  to  fables,  and  their 
souls  to  the  tomb.  In  fact,  they  gave  themselves 
up  to  be  perpetuated  simply  in  the  memory  of 
mortals,  whereas  it  is  the  duty  of  man  rather  to 


m. 


LIFE   OF    ST.    MARTIN. 


seek  after  eternal  life  than  an  eternal  memorial, 
and  that,  not  by  writing,  or  fighting,  or  philoso- 
phizing, but  by  living  a  pious,  holy,  and  religious 
life.  This  erroneous  conduct  of  mankind,  being 
enshrined  in  literature,  has  prevailed  to  such  an 
extent  that  it  has  found  many  who  have  been 
emulous  either  of  the  vain  philosophy  or  the 
foolish  excellence  which  has  been  celebrated. 
For  this  reason,  I  think  I  will  accomplish  some- 
thing well  worth  the  necessary  pains,  if  I  write 
the  life  of  a  most  holy  man,  which  shall  serve  in 
future  as  an  example  to  others  ;  by  which,  indeed, 
the  readers  shall  be  roused  to  the  pursuit  of  true 
knowledge,  and  heavenly  warfare,  and  divine 
virtue.  In  so  doing,  we  have  regard  also  to  our 
own  advantage,  so  that  we  may  look  for,  not  a 
vain  remembrance  among  men,  but  an  eternal 
reward  from  God.  For,  although  we  ourselves 
have  not  lived  in  such  a  manner  that  we  can 
serve  for  an  example  to  others,  nevertheless,  we 
have  made  it  our  endeavor  that  he  should  not 
remain  unknown  who  was  a  man  worthy  of  imi- 
tation. I  shall  therefore  set  about  writing  the 
life  of  St.  Martin,  and  shall  narrate  both  what 
he  did  previous  to  his  episcopate,  and  what  he 
performed  as  a  bishop.  At  the  same  time,  I 
cannot  hope  to  set  forth  all  that  he  was  or  did. 
Those  excellences  of  which  he  alone  was  con- 
scious are  completely  unknown,  because,  as  he 
did  not  seek  for  honor  from  men,  he  desired,  as 
much  as  he  could  accomphsh  it,  that  his  virtues 
should  be  concealed.  And  even  of  those  which 
had  become  known  to  us,  we  have  omitted  a 
great  number,  because  we  have  judged  it  enough 
if  only  the  more  striking  and  eminent  should  be 
recorded.  At  the  same  time,  I  had  in  the  inter- 
ests of  readers  to  see  to  it  that,  no  undue  amount 
of  instances  being  set  before  them  should  make 
them  weary  of  the  subject.  But  I  implore  those 
who  are  to  read  what  follows  to  give  full  faith  to 
the  things  narrated,  and  to  believe  that  I  liave 
written  nothing  of  which  I  had  not  certain 
knowledge  and  evidence.  I  should,  in  fact, 
have  preferred  to  be  silent  rather  than  to  narrate 
things  which  are  false.^ 


'  This  is  a  remarkable  asseveration  in  view  of  the  many  miracu- 
lous accounts  which  follow.  When  we  remember,  on  the  one  hand, 
how  intimate  Sulpitius  was  with  St.  Martin,  and  how  strongly,  as 
in  this  passage,  he  avouches  the  truth  of  all  he  narrates,  it  is  ex- 
tremely diflicult  to  decide  as  to  the  real  value  of  his  narrative.  It 
has  been  said  (Smith's  Diet.  11.  967)  that  Sulpitius'  Life  of  St. 
Martinus  is  "  filled  with  the  most  puerile  fables,"  and  undoubtedly 
many  of  the  stories  recorded  are  of  that  character.  But  whether, 
considering  the  close  relation  in  which  the  two  men  stood  to  each 
other,  all  the  miraculous  accounts  are  to  be  discredited,  must  be 
left  to  the  judgment  of  the  re.ider.  The  following  valuable  remarks 
may  be  quoted  on  this  interesting  cjuestion.  "  Some  forty  years 
ago,"  writes  Dr.  Cazenove,  "  an  audience  in  Oxford  was  listening 
to  a  professor  of  modern  history  (Dr.  Arnold  of  Rugby),  who  dis- 
cussed this  subject.  After  pointing  out  the  difference  between  the 
Gospel  miracles  and  those  recorded  by  ecclesiastical  historians,  the 
lecturer  proceeded  as  follows:  '  Some  appear  to  be  unable  to  con- 
ceive of  belief  or  unbelief,  except  as  having  some  ulterior  object: 
"  We  believe  this  because  we  love  it;  wc  disbelieve  it  because  we 
wish  it  to  be  disproved."  There  is,  however,  in  minds  more  health- 
fully constituted  a  belief  and  a  disbelief,  founded  solely  upon  the 
evidence  of  the  case,  arising  neither  out  of  partiality,  nor  out  of 
prejudice  against  the  supposed  conclusions,  which  may  result  from 


CHAPTER    II. 

Military  Service  of  St.  Martin. 

M.^RTiN,  then,  was  born  at  Sabaria^  in  Pan- 
nonia,  but  was  brought  up  at  Ticinum,-  which  is 
situated  in  Italy.  His  parents  were,  according 
to  the  judgment  of  the  world,  of  no  mean  rank, 
but  were  heathens.  His  father  was  at  first  sim- 
ply a  soldier,  but  afterwards  a  military  tribune. 
He  himself  in  his  youth  following  military  pur- 
suits was  enrolled  in  the  imperial  guard,  first 
under  king  Constantine,  and  then  under  Julian 
Ceesar.  This,  however,  was  not  done  of  his  own 
free  will,  for,  almost  from  his  earliest  years,  the 
holy  infancy  of  the  illustrious  boy  aspired  rather 
to  the  service  of  God.^  For,  when  he  was  of 
the  age  of  ten  years,  he  betook  himself,  against 
the  wish  of  his  parents,  to  the  Church,  and 
begged  that  he  might  become  a  catechumen. 
Soon  afterwards,  becoming  in  a  wonderful  man- 
ner completely  devoted  to  the  ser\dce  of  God, 
when  he  was  twelve  years  old,  he  desired  to  en- 
ter on  the  life  of  a  hermit ;  and  he  would  have 
followed  up  that  desire  with  the  necessary  vows, 
had  not  his  as  yet  too  youthful  age  prevented. 
His  mind,  however,  being  always  engaged  on 
matters  pertaining  to  the  monasteries  or  the 
Church,  already  meditated  in  his  boyish  years 
what  he  afterwards,  as  a  professed  servant  of 

its  truth  or  falsehood.  And  in  such  a  spirit  the  historical  student 
will  consider  the  case  of  Bedc's  and  other  historians'  miracles.  He 
will,  I  think,  as  a  general  rule,  disbelieve  them;  for  the  immense 
multitude  which  he  finds  recorded,  and  which,  1  suppose,  no  credu- 
lity could  believe  in,  shows  sufficiently  that  on  this  point  there  was 
a  total  want  of  judgment  and  a  blindness  of  belief  generally  existing 
which  make  the  testimony  wholly  insufficient;  and,  while  the  ex- 
ternal evidence  in  favor  of  these  alleged  miracles  is  so  unsatisfactory, 
there  are,  for  the  most  part,  strong  internal  evidence  against  them. 
But  with  regard  to  some  miracles,  he  will  see  that  there  is  no  strong 
a />'/(;r/ improbability  in  their  occurrence,  but  rather  the  contrary; 
as,  for  instance,  when  the  first  missionaries  of  the  Gospel  in  a  bar- 
barous country  are  said  to  have  been  assisted  by  a  manifestation  of 
the  spirit  of  power;  and,  if  the  evidence  appears  to  warrant  his 
belief,  he  will  readily  and  gladly  yield  it.  And  in  doing  so  he  will 
have  the  countenance  of  a  great  man  (Burke)  who  in  his  fragment 
of  English  history  has  not  hesitated  to  express  the  same  sentiments. 
Nor  will  he  be  unwilling,  but  most  thankful,  to  find  sufficient 
grounds  for  believing  that  not  only  at  the  beginning  of  the  Gospel, 
but  in  ages  long  afterwards,  believing  prayer  has  received  extraor- 
dinary answers;  that  it  has  been  heard  even  in  more  than  it  might 
have  dared  to  ask  for.  Yet,  again,  if  the  gift  of  faith  —  the  gift  as 
distinguished  from  the  grace  —  of  the  faith  which  removes  moun- 
tains, has  been  given  to  any  in  later  times  in  remarkable  measure, 
the  mighty  works  which  such  faith  may  have  wrought  cannot  be 
incredible  in  themselves  to  those  who  remember  our  Lord's  promise, 
and  if  it  appears  from  satisfactory  evidence  that  they  were  wrought 
actually,  we  shall  believe  them,  —  and  believe  with  joy.  Only  as  it 
is  in  most  cases  impossible  to  admit  the  trustworthiness  of  the  evi- 
dence, our  minds  must  remain  at  the  most  in  a  state  of  suspense; 
and  I  do  not  know  why  it  is  necessary  to  come  to  any  positive  decis- 
ion.'"—  "The  Fathers  for  English  Readers":  Si.  Hilary  of  Poi- 
tiers and  St.  Martin  of  Tours,  p.  191. 

On  this  subject  it  has  lately  been  said:  "  Most,  if  not  all,  of  the 
so-called  miracles  which  were  supposed  to  surround  Martin  with  a 
blaze  of  glory  were  either  absolutely  and  on  the  face  of  them  false; 
or  were  gross  exaggerations  of  natural  events;  or  were  subjective 
impressions  clothed  in  objective  images;  or  were  the  distortions  of 
credulous  rumor;  or  at  the  best  cannot  claim  in  their  favor  a 
single  particle  of  trustworthy  evidence.  They  cannot  be  narrated 
as  though  they  were  actual  events.  Martin  was  an  eminent  bishop, 
but  half  of  the  wonderful  deeds  attributed  to  him  are  unworthy  and 
absurd."  —  Farrar's  Li'ics  of  tlie  Fathers,  L  644. 

'  Sarwar.  ^  Pavia. 

^  The  text  is  here  corrupt  and  uncertain,  but  the  general  mean- 
ing is  plain  to  the  above  effect.  Hahn  has  adopted  "  divinam  ser- 
vitutem,"  instead  of  the  common  "  diviua  servitute." 


LIFE   OF   ST.    MARTIN. 


Christ,  fulfilled.  But  when  an  edict  was  issued 
by  the  ruling  powers'*  in  the  state,  that  the  sons 
of  veterans  should  be  enrolled  for  military  ser- 
vice, and  he,  on  the  information  furnished  by  his 
father,  (who  looked  with  an  evil  eye  on  his  blessed 
actions)  having  been  seized  and  put  in  chains, 
when  he  was  fifteen  years  old,  was  compelled  to 
take  the  military  oath,  then  showed  himself  con- 
tent with  only  one  servant  as  his  attendant.  And 
even  to  him,  changing  places  as  it  were,  he  often 
acted  as  though,  while  really  master,  he  had  been 
inferior ;  to  such  a  degree  that,  for  the  most 
part,  he  drew  off  his  [servant's]  boots  and  cleaned 
them  with  his  own  hand ;  while  they  took  their 
meals  together,  the  real  master,  however,  gener- 
ally acting  the  part  of  servant.  During  nearly 
three  years  before  his  baptism,  he  was  engaged 
in  the  profession  of  arms,  but  he  kept  completely 
free  from  those  vices  in  which  that  class  of  men 
become  too  frequently  involved.  He  showed 
exceeding  kindness  towards  his  fellow-soldiers, 
and  held  them  in  wonderful  affection ;  while  his 
patience  and  humility  surpassed  what  seemed 
possible  to  human  nature.  There  is  no  need  to 
praise  the  self-denial  which  he  displayed  :  it  was 
so  great  that,  even  at  that  date,  he  was  regarded 
not  so  much  as  being  a  soldier  as  a  monk.  By 
all  these  qualities  he  had  so  endeared  himself  to 
the  whole  body  of  his  comrades,  that  they  es- 
teemed him  while  they  marvelously  loved  him. 
Although  not  yet  made  a  new  creature  ^  in  Christ, 
he,  by  his  good  works,  acted  the  part  of  a  can- 
didate for  baptism.  This  he  did,  for  instance, 
by  aiding  those  who  were  in  trouble,  by  furnish- 
ing assistance  to  the  wretched,  by  supporting  the 
needy,  by  clothing  the  naked,  while  he  reserved 
nothing  for  himself  from  his  military  pay  except 
what  was  necessary  for  his  daily  sustenance. 
Even  then,  far  from  being  a  senseless  hearer  of 
the  Gospel,  he  so  far  complied  with  its  precepts 
as  to  take  no  thought  about  the  morrow. 


CHAPTER   III. 

Christ  appears  to  St.  Martin. 

Accordingly,  at  a  certain  period,  when  he 
had  nothing  except  his  arms  and  his  simple 
military  dress,  in  the  middle  of  winter,  a  winter 
which  had  shown  itself  more  severe  than  ordi- 
nary, so  that  the  extreme  cold  was  proving  fatal 
to  many,  he  happened  to  meet  at  the  gate  of 


*  Sulpitius  uses  reges  instead  of  the  more  common  expression 
itnperatorcs. 

^  Sulpitius  manifestly  refers  to  baptism  in  these  words.  How- 
ever mistakenly,  several  others  of  the  early  Fathers  held  that  regen- 
eration does  not  take  place  before  baptism,  and  that  baptism  is,  in 
fact,  absolutely  necessary  to  regeneration.  St.  Ambrose  has  the 
following  strong  statement  on  the  subject:  "Credit  catechumenus; 
sed  nisi  baptizetur,  remissionem  peccatorum  non  potest  obtinere." 
—  Libri  de  his,  qui  iniiiantur  mysteriis,  chap.  4. 


the  city  of  Amiens  ^  a  poor  man  destitute  of 
clothing.  He  was  entreating  those  that  passed 
by  to  have  compassion  upon  him,  but  all  passed 
the  wretched  man  without  notice,  when  Martin, 
that  man  full  of  God,  recognized  that  a  being  to 
whom  others  showed  no  pity,  was,  in  that  re- 
spect, left  to  him.  Yet,  what  should  he  do? 
He  had  nothing  except  the  cloak  in  which  he 
was  clad,  for  he  had  already  parted  with  the 
rest  of  his  garments  for  similar  purposes.  Tak- 
ing, therefore,  his  sword  with  which  he  was  girt, 
he  divided  his  cloak  into  two  equal  parts,  and 
gave  one  part  to  the  poor  man,  while  he  again 
clothed  himself  with  the  remainder.  Upon  this, 
some  of  the  by-standers  laughed,  because  he 
was  now  an  unsightly  object,  and  stood  out  as 
but  partly  dressed.  Many,  however,  who  were 
of  sounder  understanding,  groaned  deeply  be- 
cause they  themselves  had  done  nothing  similar. 
They  especially  felt  this,  because,  being  pos- 
sessed of  more  than  Martin,  they  could  have 
clothed  the  poor  man  without  reducing  them- 
selves to  nakedness.  In  the  following  night, 
when  Martin  had  resigned  himself  to  sleep,  he 
had  a  vision  of  Christ  arrayed  in  that  part  of  his 
cloak  with  which  he  had  clothed  the  poor  man. 
He  contemplated  the  Lord  with  the  greatest 
attention,  and  was  told  to  own  as  his  the  robe 
which  he  had  given.  Ere  long,  he  heard  Jesus 
saying  with  a  clear  voice  to  the  multitude  of 
angels  standing  round  — "  Martin,  who  is  still 
but  a  catechumen,  clothed  -  me  with  this  robe." 
The  Lord,  truly  mindful  of  his  own  words  (who 
had  said  when  on  earth  —  "Inasmuch^  as  ye 
have  done  these  things  to  one  of  the  least  of 
these,  ye  have  done  them  unto  me),  declared 
that  he  himself  had  been  clothed  in  that  poor 
man ;  and  to  confirm  the  testimony  he  bore  to 
so  good  a  deed,  he  condescended  to  show  him 
himself  in  that  very  dress  which  the  poor  man  had 
received.  After  this  vision  the  sainted  man  was 
not  puffed  up  with  human  glory,  but,  acknowledg- 
ing the  goodness  of  God  in  what  had  been  done, 
and  being  now  of  the  age  of  twenty  years,  he 
hastened  to  receive  baptism.  He  did  not,  how- 
ever, all  at  once,  retire  from  military  service, 
yielding  to  the  entreaties  of  his  tribune,  whom  he 
admitted  to  be  his  familiar  tent-companion.'*  For 
the  tribune  promised  that,  after  the  period  of 
his  office  had  expired,  he  too  would  retire  from 
the  world.  Martin,  kept  back  by  the  expecta- 
tion of  this  event,  continued,  although  but  in 
name,  to  act  the  part  of  a  soldier,  for  nearly  two 
years  after  he  had  received  baptism. 

1  The  place  here  called  by  Sulpitius  "  Ambianensium  civitas  " 
was  also  known  as  "  Samarobriva,"  and  is  supposed  to  be  the  modern 
Amiens.  ^  St.  Matt.  xxv.  40. 

'  There  is  a  peculiar  use  of  guamdiii  in  the  old  Latin  rendering 
of  the  passage  here  quoted.  It  is  used  as  an  equivalent  for  the 
Greek  e'i'  b<Toi',  no  doubt  with  the  meaning  "  inasmuch  as." 

*  Comp.  Tacitus,  Agric.  chap.  5,  "  electus,  quern  contubemio 
aestimaret." 


LIFE    OF    ST.    MARTIN. 


CHAPTER   IV. 

Martin  retires  from  Military  Service. 

L\  the  meantime,  as  the  barbarians  were 
rushing  within  the  two  divisions  of  -Gaul,  Ju- 
lian Caesar/  bringing  an  army  together  at  the 
city-  of  tlie  Vaugiones,  began  to  distribute  a 
donative  to  the  soldiers.  As  was  the  custom  in 
such  a  case,  they  were  called  forward,  one  by 
one,  until  it  came  to  the  turn  of  Martin.  Then, 
indeed,  judging  it  a  suitable  opportunity  for 
seeking  his  discharge  —  for  he  did  not  think  it 
would  be  proper  for  him,  if  he  were  not  to  con- 
tinue in  the  service,  to  receive  a  donative — he 
said  to  Caesar,  "  Hitherto  I  have  served  you  as 
a  soldier  :  allow  me  now  to  become  a  soldier 
to  God  :  let  the  man  who  is  to  serve  thee  re- 
ceive thy  donative  :  I  am  the  soldier  of  Christ : 
it  is  not  lawful  for  me  to  fight."  Then  truly  the 
tyrant  stormed  on  hearing  such  words,  declaring 
that,  from  fear  of  the  battle,  which  was  to  take 
place  on  the  morrow,  and  not  from  any  religious 
feeling,  Martin  withdrew  from  the  service.  But 
Martin,  full  of  courage,  yea  all  the  more  reso- 
lute from  the  danger  that  had  been  set  before 
him,  exclaims,  "  If  this  conduct  of  mine  is 
ascribed  to  cowardice,  and  not  to  faith,  I  will 
take  my  stand  unarmed  before  the  line  of  battle 
to-morrow,  and  in  the  name  of  the  Lord  Jesus, 
protected  by  the  sign  of  the  cross,  and  not  by 
shield  or  helmet,  I  will  safely  penetrate  the 
ranks  of  the  enemy."  He  is  ordered,  therefore, 
to  be  thrust  back  into  prison,  determined  on 
proving  his  words  true  by  exposing  himself  wn- 
armed  to  the  barbarians.  But,  on  the  following 
day,  the  enemy  sent  ambassadors  to  treat  about 
peace  and  surrendered  both  themselves  and  all 
their  possessions.  In  these  circumstances  who 
can  doubt  that  this  victory  was  due  to  the  saintly 
man  ?  It  was  granted  him  that  he  should  not 
be  sent  unarmed  to  the  fight.  And  although 
the  good  Lord  could  have  preserved  his  own 
soldier,  even  amid  the  swords  and  darts  of  the 
enemy,  yet  that  his  blessed  eyes  might  not  be 
pained  by  witnessing  the  death  of  others,  he 
removed  all  necessity  for  fighting.  For  Christ 
did  not  require  to  secure  any  other  victory  in 
behalf  of  his  own  soldier,  than  that,  the  enemy 
being  subdued  without  bloodshed,  no  one  should 
suffer  death. 

CHAFFER   V. 

Martin  cotiverts  a  Robber  to  the  Faith. 

From  that  time  quitting  military  service, 
Martin   earnestly   sought   after   the    society    of 


>  Commonly  known  as  Julian  the  Apostate. 

-  This  rity  was  called  Borbetomagus,  and  is  represented  by  the 
modern  [Vorms. 


Hilarius,  bishop  of  the  city  Pictava/  whose  faith 
in  the  things  of  God  was  then  regarded  as  of 
high  renown,  and  in  universal  esteem.  For 
some  time  Martin  made  his  abode  with  him. 
Now,  this  same  Hilarius,  having  instituted  him 
in  the  ofiice  of  the  diaconate,  endeavored  still 
more  closely  to  attach  him  to  himself,  and  to 
bind  him  by  leading  him  to  take  part  in  Divine 
service.  But  when  he  constantly  refused,  cry- 
ing out  that  he  was  unworthy,  Hilarius,  as  being 
a  man  of  deep  penetration,  perceived  that  he 
could  only  be  constrained  in  this  way,  if  he 
should  lay  that  sort  of  office  upon  him,  in  dis- 
charging which  there  should  seem  to  be  a  kind 
of  injury  done  him.  He  therefore  appointed 
him  to  be  an  exorcist.  Martin  did  not  refuse 
this  appointment,  from  the  fear  that  he  might 
seem  to  have  looked  down  upon  it  as  somewhat 
humble.  Not  long  after  this,  he  was  warned  in 
a  dream  that  he  should  visit  his  native  land,  and 
more  particularly  his  parents,  who  were  still  in- 
volved in  heathenism,  with  a  regard  for  their 
religious  interests.  He  set  forth  in  accordance 
with  the  expressed  wish  of  the  holy  Hilarius, 
and,  after  being  adjured  by  him  with  many 
prayers  and  tears,  that  he  would  in  due  time  re- 
turn. According  to  report  Martin  entered  on 
that  journey  in  a  melancholy  frame  of  mind, 
after  calling  the  brethren  to  witness  that  many 
sufferings  lay  before  him.  The  result  fully 
justified  this  prediction.  For,  first  of  all,  hav- 
ing followed  some  devious  paths  among  the 
Alps,  he  fell  into  the  hands  of  robbers.  And 
when  one  of  them  lifted  up  his  axe  and  poised 
it  above  Martin's  head,  another  of  them  met 
with  his  right  hand  the  blow  as  it  fell ;  never- 
theless, having  had  his  hands  bound  behind  his 
back,  he  was  handed  over  to  one  of  them  to  be 
guarded  and  stripped.  The  robber,  having  led 
him  to  a  private  place  apart  from  the  rest,  began 
to  enquire  of  him  who  he  was.  Upon  this, 
Martin  replied  that  he  was  a  Christian.  The 
robber  next  asked  him  whether  he  was  afraid. 
Then  indeed  Martin  most  courageously  replied 
that  he  never  before  had  felt  so  safe,  because  he 
knew  that  the  mercy  of  the  Lord  would  be  es- 
pecially present  with  him  in  the  midst  of  trials. 
He  added  that  he  grieved  rather  for  the  man  in 
whose  hands  he  was,  because,  by  living  a  life  of 
robbery,  he  was  showing  himself  unworthy  of  the 
mercy  of  Christ.  And  then  entering  on  a  dis- 
course concerning  Evangelical  truth,  he  preached 
the  word  of  God  to  the  robber,  "\^'hy  should  I 
delay  stating  the  result  ?  The  robber  believed  ; 
and,  after  expressing  his  respect  for  Martin,  he 
restored  him  to  the  way,  entreating  him  to  pray 
the  Lord  for  him.     That  same  robber  was  after- 


'  This  was  a  city  of  the  Pictones  (or  Pictavi)  who  are  mentioned 
by  Caesar.  Hell  Gall,  iii    ii.     Their  territory  corresponded  to  the 
I  modern  diocese  of  Poitiers. 


LIFE    OF    ST.    MARTIN. 


wards  seen  leading  a  religious  life  ;  so  that,  in 
fact,  the  narrative  I  have  given  above  is  based 
upon  an  account  furnished  by  himself. 


CHAPTER  VI. 
Tlie  Devil  throws  himself  in  the  Way  of  Martin. 

Martin,  then,  having  gone  on  from  thence, 
after  he  had  passed  Milan,  the  devil  met  him  in 
the  way,  having  assumed  the  form  of  a  man. 
The  devil  first  asked  him  to  what  place  he  was 
going.  Martin  having  answered  him  to  the  ef- 
fect that  he  was  minded  to  go  whithersoever  the 
Lord  called  him,  the  devil  said  to  him,  "  Wher- 
ever you  go,  or  whatever  you  attempt,  the  devil 
will  resist  you."  Then  Martin,  replying  to  him 
in  the  prophetical  word,  said,  "  The  Lord  is  my 
helper ;  I  will  not  fear  what  man  can  do  unto 
me."  ^  Upon  this,  his  enemy  immediately  van- 
ished out  of  his  sight ;  and  thus,  as  he  had  in- 
tended in  his  heart  and  mind,  he  set  free  his 
mother  from  the  errors  of  heathenism,  though 
his  father  continued  to  cleave  to  its  evils.  How- 
ever, he  saved  many  by  his  example. 

After  this,  when  the  Arian  heresy  had  spread 
through  the  whole  world,  and  was  especially 
powerful  in  Illyria,  and  when  he,  almost  single- 
handed,  was  fighting  most  strenuously  against 
the  treachery  of  the  priests,  and  had  been  sub- 
jected to  many  punishments  (for  he  was  publicly 
scourged,  and  at  last  was  compelled  to  leave  the 
city),  again  betaking  himself  to  Italy,  and  hav- 
ing found  the  Church  in  the  two  divisions  of  Gaul 
in  a  distracted  condition  through  the  departure 
also  of  the  holy  Hilarius,  whom  the  violence 
of  the  heretics  had  driven  into  exile,  he  estab- 
lished a  monastery  for  himself  at  Milan.  There, 
too,  Auxentius,  the  originator  and  leader  of  the 
Arians,  bitterly  persecuted  him  ;  and,  after  he 
had  assailed  him  with  many  injuries,  violently 
expelled  him  from  the  city.  Thinking,  there- 
fore, that  it  was  necessary  to  yield  to  circum- 
stances, he  withdrew  to  the  island  Gallinaria,- 
with  a  certain  presbyter  as  his  companion,  a 
man  of  distinguished  excellences.  Here  he  sub- 
sisted for  some  time  on  the  roots  of  plants  ;  and, 
while  doing  so,  he  took  for  food  hellebore,  which 
is,  as  people  say,  a  poisonous  kind  of  grass.  But 
when  he  perceived  the  strength  of  the  poison 
increasing  within  him,  and  death  now  nearly  at 
hand,  he  warded  off  the  imminent  danger  by 
means  of  prayer,  and  immediately  all  his  pains 
were  put  to  flight.  And  not  long  after  having 
discovered  that,  through  penitence  on  the  part  of 
the  king,  permission  to  return  had  been  granted 

'  Comp.  Ps.  cxviii.  6. 

-  An  isla^id  near  Albium  Ingaunum  —  the  modern  AUenga,  on 
the  Gulf  of  Genoa.  The  island  was  so  named  from  abounding  in 
fowls  in  a  half-tamed  state.     It  still  bears  the  name  of  Gallinaria. 


to  holy  Hilarius,  he  made  an  effort  to  meet  him 
at  Rome,  and,  with  this  view,  set  out  for  that 
city. 

CHAPTER   VII. 

Martin  7-esiores  a  Catechumen  to  Life. 

As  Hilarius  had  already  gone  away,  so  Martin 
followed  in  his  footsteps  ;  and  having  been  most 
joyously  welcomed  by  him,  he  established  for 
himself  a  monastery  not  far  from  the  town.  At 
this  time  a  certain  catechumen  joined  him,  being 
desirous  of  becoming  instructed  in  the  doctrines  \ 
and  habits  of  the  most  holy  man.  But,  after  the 
lapse  only  of  a  few  days,  the  catechumen,  seized 
with  a  languor,  began  to  suffer  from  a  violent 
fever.  It  so  happened  that  Martin  had  then  left 
home,  and  having  remained  away  three  days,  he 
found  on  his  return  that  life  had  departed  from 
the  catechumen  ;  and  so  suddenly  had  death  oc- 
curred, that  he  had  left  this  world  without  re- 
ceiving baptism.  The  body  being  laid  out  in 
public  was  being  honored  by  the  last  sad  offices 
on  the  part  of  the  mourning  brethren,,  when 
Martin  hurries  up  to  them  with  tears  and  lamen- 
tations. But  then  laying  hold,  as  it  were,  of  the 
Holy  Spirit,  with  the  whole  powers  of  his  mind, 
he  orders  the  others  to  quit  the  cell  in  which 
the  body  was  lying  ;  and  bolting  the  door,  he 
stretches  himself  at  full  length  on  the  dead  limbs 
of  the  departed  brother.  Having  given  himself 
for  some  time  to  earnest  prayer,  and  percei\«ing 
by  means  of  the  Spirit  of  God  that  power  was 
present,-  he  then  rose  up  for  a  little,  and  gazing 
on  the  countenance  of  the  deceased,  he  waited 
without  misgiving  for  the  result  of  his  prayer 
and  of  the  mercy  of  the  Lord.  And  scarcely 
had  the  space  of  two  hours  elapsed,  when  he  saw 
the  dead  man  begin  to  move  a  little  in  all  his 
members,  and  to  tremble  with  his  eyes  opened 
for  the  practice  of  sight.  Then  indeed,  turning 
to  the  Lord  with  a  loud  voice  and  giving  thanks, 
he  filled  the  cell  with  his  ejaculations.  Hearing 
the  noise,  those  who  had  been  standing  at  the 
door  immediately  rush  inside.  And  truly  a  mar- 
velous spectacle  met  them,  for  they  beheld  the 
man  alive  whom  they  had  formerly  left  dead. 
Thus  being  restored  to  life,  and  having  immedi- 
ately obtained  baptism,  he  lived  for  many  years 
afterwards ;  and  he  was  the  first  who  offered 
himself  to  us  both  as  a  subject  that  had  experi- 
enced the  virtues  ^  of  Martin,  and  as  a  witness 
to  their  existence.  The  same  man  was  wont  to 
relate  that,  when  he  left  the  body,  he  was  brought 
before  the  tribunal  of  the  Judge,  and  being  as- 
signed to  gloomy  regions  and  vulgar  crowds,  he 

1  All  this  seems  to  be  implied  in  the  words  "  institui  disciplinis." 
^  "  adesse  virtutem." 

'  Or  "  powers  "  according  to  the  use  of  the  Greek  word  hvvo.y.i.'i 
in  St.  Luke  viii.  46. 


8 


LIFE    OF    ST.    MARTIN. 


received  a  severe  *  sentence.  Then,  however,  he 
added,  it  was  suggested  by  two  angels  of  the 
Judge  that  he  was  the  man  for  whom  Martin 
was  praying ;  and  that,  on  this  account,  he  was 
ordered  to  be  led  back  by  the  same  angels,  and 
given  up  to  Martin,  and  restored  to  his  former 
life.  From  this  time  forward,  the  name  of  the 
sainted  man  became  illustrious,  so  that,  as  being 
reckoned  holy  by  all,  he  was  also  deemed  pow- 
erful and  truly  apostolical. 


CHAPTER   VIII. 

Martin  restores  one  that  had  been  strangled. 

Not  long  after  these  events,  while  Martin  was 
passing  by  the  estate  of  a  certain  man  named 
Lupicinus,  who  was  held  in  high  esteem  according 
to  the  judgment  of  the  world,  he  was  received 
with  shouting  and  the  lamentations  of  a  wailing 
crowd.  Having,  in  an  anxious  state  of  mind, 
gone  up  to  that  multitude,  and  enquired  what 
such  weeping  meant,  he  was  told  that  one  of  the 
slaves  of  the  family  had  put  an  end  to  his  Hfe  by 
hanging.  Hearing  this,  Martin  entered  the  cell 
in  which  the  body  was  lying,  and,  excluding  all 
the  multitude,  he  stretched  himself  upon  the 
body,  and  spent  some  little  time  in  prayer. 
Ere  long,  the  deceased,  with  life  beaming  in  his 
countenance,  and  with  his  drooping  eyes  fixed 
on  JVIartin's  face,  is  aroused  ;  and  with  a  gentle 
effort  attempting  to  rise,  he  laid  hold  of  the 
right  hand  of  the  saintly  man,  and  by  this  means 
stood  upon  his  feet.  In  this  manner,  while  the 
whole  multitude  looked  on,  he  walked  along 
with  Martin  to  the  porch  of  the  house. 


CHAPTER    IX. 

High  Esteem  in  luhich  Marti 71  was  held. 

Nearly  about  the  same  time,  Martin  was 
called  upon  to  undertake  the  episcopate  of  the 
church  at  Tours ; '  but  when  he  could  not 
easily  be  drawn  forth  from  his  monastery,  a 
certain  Ruricius,  one  of  the  citizens,  pretending 
that  his  wife  was  ill,  and  casting  himself  down 
at  his  knees,  prevailed  on  him  to  go  forth. 
Multitudes  of  the  citizens  having  previously  been 
posted  by  the  road  on  which  he  traveled,  he  is 
thus  under  a  kind  of  guard  escorted  to  the  city. 
An  incredible  number  of  people  not  only  from 
that  town,  but  also  from  the  neighboring  cities, 
had,  in  a  wonderful  manner,  assembled  to  give 

*  Here  again  it  is  to  be  noted  what  fatal  consequences  were  sup- 
posed to  flow  from  dying  without  receiving  baptism. 

1  The  Turones  occupied  territory  on  both  sides  of  the  river 
Loire.  Caesar  refers  to  them  {BclL  Gall.  ii.  35,  &c.).  Their  chief 
town  was  named  Caesarodunum,  the  modern  Tours. 


their  votes.-  There  was  but  one  wish  among  all, 
there  were  the  same  prayers,  and  there  was  the 
same  fixed  opinion  to  the  effect  that  Martin  was 
most  worthy  of  the  episcopate,  and  that  the 
church  would  be  happy  with  such  a  priest.  A 
few  persons,  however,  and  among  these  some  of 
the  bishops,  who  had  been  summoned  to  appoint 
a  chief  priest,  were  impiously  offering  resistance, 
asserting  forsooth  that  Martin's  person  was  con- 
temptible, that  he  was  unworthy  of  the  episco- 
pate, that  he  was  a  man  despicable  in  counte- 
nance, that  his  clothing  was  mean,  and  his  hair 
disgusting.  This  madness  of  theirs  was  ridiculed 
by  the  people  of  sounder  judgment,  inasmuch  as 
such  objectors  only  proclaimed  the  illustrious 
character  of  the  man,  while  they  sought  to 
slander  him.  Nor  truly  was  it  allowed  them  to 
do  anything  else,  than  what  the  people,  follow- 
ing the  Divine  will,  desired^  to  be  accomplished. 
Among  the  bishops,  however,  who  had  been 
present,  a  certain  one  of  the  name  Defensor  is 
said  to  have  specially  offered  opposition  ;  and 
on  this  account  it  was  observed  that  he  was  at 
the  time  severely  censured  in  the  reading  from 
the  prophets.  For  when  it  so  happened  that  the 
reader,  whose  duty  it  was  to  read  in  public 
that  day,  being  blocked  out  by  the  people, 
failed  to  appear,  the  officials  falling  into  con- 
fusion, while  they  waited  for  him  who  never 
came,  one  of  those  standing  by,  laying  hold  of 
the  Psalter,  seized  upon  the  first  verse  which 
presented  itself  to  him.  Now,  the  Psalm  ran 
thus  :  "  Out  of  the  mouth  of  babes  and  suck- 
lings thou  hast  perfected  praise  because  of  thine 
enemies,  that  thou  mightest  destroy  the  enemy 
and  the  avenger."^  On  these  words  being  read, 
a  shout  was  raised  by  the  people,  and  the  oppo- 
site party  were  confounded.  It  was  believed 
that  this  Psalm  had  been  chosen  by  Divine 
ordination,  that  Defensor^  might  hear  a  testi- 
mony to  his  own  work,  because  the  praise  of  the 
Lord  was  perfected  out  of  the  mouth  of  babes 
and  sucklings  in  the  case  of  Martin,  while  the 
enemy  was  at  the  same  time  both  pointed  out 
and  destroyed. 

CHAPTER   X. 

Martin  as  Bishop  of  Tours. 

And  now  having  entered  on  the  episcopal 
office,  it  is  beyond  my  power  fully  to  set  forth 
how  Martin  distinguished  himself  in  the  dis- 
charge of  its  duties.  For  he  remained  with  the 
utmost  constancy,  the  same   as    he    had    been 

2  It  is  clear  from  this  passage  that  the  people'  at  large  were 
accustomed  in  ancient  times  to  give  their  votes  on  the  appointment 
of  a  bishop. 

^  We  here  adopt  Halm's  reading  "  cogitabat,"  in  preference  to 
the  usual  "  cogebat."  *  Ps.  viii.  3. 

^  The  word  translated  "avenger"  in  the  English  A.  V.  is  "  de- 
fensor" in  the  Vulgate,  and  thus  the  man  referred  to  would  have 
seemed  to  be  expressly  named. 


LIFE   OF    ST.    MARTIN. 


before.  There  was  the  same  humility  in  his 
heart,  and  the  same  homeliness  in  his  garments. 
Full  alike  of  dignity  and  courtesy,  he  kept  .up 
the  position  of  a  bishop  properly,  yet  in  such  a 
way  as  not  to  lay  aside  the  objects  and  virtues 
of  a  monk.  Accordingly  he  made  use,  for  some 
time,  of  the  cell  connected  with  the  church ; 
but  afterwards,  when  he  felt  it  impossible  to 
tolerate  the  disturbance  caused  by  the  numbers 
,'  of  those  visiting  it,  he  established  a  monastery 
for  himself  about  two  miles  outside  the  city. 
This  spot  was  so  secret  and  retired  that  he  en- 
joyed in  it  the  solitude  of  a  hermit.  For,  on 
one  side,  it  was  surrounded  by  a  precipitous 
rock  of  a  lofty  mountain,  while  the  river  Loire 
had  shut  in  the  rest  of  the  plain  by  a  bay  ex- 
tending back  for  a  little  distance  ;  and  the  place 
could  be  approached  only  by  one,  and  that  a 
very  narrow  passage.  Here,  then,  he  possessed 
a  cell  constructed  of  wood.  Many  also  of  the 
brethren  had,  in  the  same  manner,  fashioned  re- 
treats for  themselves,  but  most  of  them  had 
formed  these  out  of  the  rock  of  the  overhanging 
mountain,  hollowed  into  caves.  There  were 
altogether  eighty  disciples,  who  were  being  dis- 
ciphned  after  the  example  of  the  saintly  master. 
No  one  there  had  anything  which  was  called  his 
own ;  all  things  were  possessed  in  common.  It 
was  not  allowed  either  to  buy  or  to  sell  anything, 
as  is  the  custom  among  most  monks.  No  art 
was  practiced  there,  except  that  of  transcribers, 
and  even  this  was  assigned  to  the  brethren  of 
younger  years,  while  the  elders  spent  their  time 
in  prayer.  Rarely  did  any  one  of  them  go  be- 
yond the  cell,  unless  when  they  assembled  at 
the  place  of  prayer.  They  all  took  their  food 
together,  after  the  hour  of  fasting  was  past.  No 
one  used  wine,  except  when  illness  compelled 
them  to  do  so.  Most  of  them  were  clothed  in 
garments  of  camels'  hair.^  Any  dress  approach- 
ing to  softness  ^  was  there  deemed  criminal,  and 
this  must  be  thought  the  more  remarkable,  be- 
cause many  among  them  were  such  as  are 
deemed  of  noble  rank.  These,  though  far  dif- 
ferently brought  up,  had  forced  themselves  down 
to  this  degree  of  humility  and  patient  endurance, 
and  we  have  seen  numbers  of  these  afterwards 
made  bishops.  For  what  city  or  church  would 
there  be  that  would  not  desire  to  have  its  priests 
from  among  those  in  the  monastery  of  Martin  ? 


CHAPTER   XI. 

Martin  demolishes   an  Altar   cotisecrated  to  a 

Robber. 

But  let  me  proceed  to  a  description  of  other 

'  Cf.  St.  Matt.  iii.  4. 

'  In  St.  Matt.  xi.  8,  there  is  a  reference  to  those  "  that  wear  soft 
clothing,"  —  oi  TO  fj-aKaKo.  (j>opovvTii. 


excellences  which  Martin  displayed  as  a  bishop. 
There  was,  not  far  from  the  town,  a  place  very 
close  to  the  monastery,  which  a  false  human 
opinion  had  consecrated,  on  the  supposition  that 
some  martyrs  had  been  buried  together  there. 
For  it  was  also  believed  that  an  altar  had  been 
placed  there  by  former  bishops.  But  Martin, 
not  inclined  to  give  a  hasty  belief  to  things  un- 
certain, often  asked  from  those  who  were  his 
elders,  whether  among  the  presbyters  or  clerics, 
that  the  name  of  the  martvr,  or  the  time  when 
he  suffered,  should  be  made  known  to  him.  He 
did  so,  he  said,  because  he  had  great  scruples 
on  these  points,  inasmuch  as  no  steady  tradition 
respecting  them  had  come  down  from  antiquity. 
Having,  therefore,  for  a  time  kept  away  from 
the  place,  by  no  means  wishing  to  lessen  the 
religious  veneration  with  which  it  was  regarded, 
because  he  was  as  yet  uncertain,  but,  at  the 
same  time  not  lending  his  authority  to  the 
opinion  of  the  multitude,  lest  a  mere  supersti- 
tion should  obtain  a  firmer  footing,  he  one  day 
went  out  to  the  place,  taking  a  few  brethren 
with  him  as  companions.  There  standing  above 
the  very  sepulchre,  Martin  prayed  to  the  Lord 
that  he  would  reveal  who  the  man  in  question 
was,  and  what  was  his  character  or  desert.  Next 
turning  to  the  left-hand  side,  he  sees  standing 
very  near  a  shade  of  a  mean  and  cruel  appear- 
ance. Martin  commands  him  to  tell  his  name 
and  character.  Upon  this,  he  declares  his  name, 
and  confesses  his  guilt.  He  says  that  he  had 
been  a  robber,  and  that  he  was  beheaded  on 
account  of  his  crimes  ;  that  he  had  been  hon- 
ored simply  by  an  error  of  the  multitude  ;  that 
he  had  nothing  in  common  with  the  martyrs, 
since  glory  was  their  portion,  while  punishment 
exacted  its  penalties  from  him.  Those  who 
stood  by  heard,  in  a  wonderful  way,  the  voice 
of  the  speaker,  but  they  beheld  no  person. 
Then  Martin  made  known  what  he  had  seen, 
and  ordered  the  altar  which  had  been  there  to 
be  removed,  and  thus  he  delivered  the  people 
from  the  error  of  that  superstition. 


CHAPTER   XII. 

Martin  causes  the  Bearers  of  a  Dead  Body  to 

stop. 

Now,  it  came  to  pass  some  time  after  the 
above,  that  while  Martin  was  going  a  journey, 
he  met  the  body  of  a  certain  heathen,  which  was 
being  carried  to  the  tomb  with  superstitious  fu- 
neral rites.  Perceiving  from  a  distance  the  crowd 
that  was  approaching,  and  being  ignorant  as  to 
what  was  going  on,  he  stood  still  for  a  little 
while.  For  there  was  a  distance  of  nearly  half 
a  mile  between  him  and  the  crowd,  so  that  it 


lO 


LIFE    OF    ST.    MARTIN. 


was  difficult  to  discover  what  the  spectacle  he 
beheld  really  was.  Nevertheless,  because  he 
saw  it  was  a  rustic  gathering,  and  when  the  linen 
clothes  spread  over  the  body  were  blown  about 
by  the  action  of  the  wind,  he  believed  that  some 
profane  rites  of  sacrifice  were  being  performed. 
This  thought  occurred  to  him,  because  it  was  the 
custom  of  the  Gallic  rustics  in  their  wretched 
folly  to  carry  about  through  the  fields  the  im- 
ages of  deiTions  veiled  with  a  white  covering. 
Lifting  up,  therefore,  the  sign  of  the  cross  oppo- 
site to  them,  he  commanded  the  crowd  not  to 
move  from  the  place  in  which  they  were,  and  to 
set  down  the  burden.  Upon  this,  the  miserable 
creatures  might  have  been  seen  at  first  to  be- 
come stiff  like  rocks.  Next,  as  they  endeavored, 
with  every  possible  effort,  to  move  forward,  but 
were  not  able  to  take  a  step  farther,  they  began 
to  whirl  themselves  about  in  the  most  ridiculous 
fashion,  until,  not  able  any  longer  to  sustain  the 
weight,  they  set  down  the  dead  body.  Thunder- 
struck, and  gazing  in  bewilderment  at  each  other, 
as  not  knowing  what  had  happened  to  them, 
they  remained  sunk  in  silent  thought.  But  when 
the  saintly  man  discovered  that  they  were  simply 
a  band  of  peasants  celebrating  funeral  rites,  and 
not  sacrifices  to  the  gods,  again  raising  his  hand, 
he  gave  them  the  power  of  going  away,  and  of 
lifting  up  the  body.  Thus  he  both  compelled 
them  to  stand  when  he  pleased,  and  permitted 
them  to  depart  when  he  thought  good. 


CHAPTER  XIII. 

Martin  escapes  from  a  Falling  Pine-tree. 

Again,  when  in  a  certain  village  he  had  de- 
molished a  very  ancient  temple,  and  had  set 
about  cutting  down  a  pine-tree,  which  stood 
close  to  the  temple,  the  chief  priest  of  that  place, 
and  a  crowd  of  other  heathens  began  to  oppose 
him.  And  these  people,  though,  under  the  in- 
fluence of  the  Lord,  they  had  been  quiet  while 
the  temple  was  being  overthrown,  could  not 
patiently  allow  the  tree  to  be  cut  down.  Martin 
carefully  instructed  them  that  there  was  nothing 
sacred  in  the  trunk  of  a  tree,  and  urged  them 
rather  to  honor  God  whom  he  himself  served. 
He  added  that  there  was  a  moral  necessity  why 
that  tree  should  be  cut  down,  because  it  had 
been  dedicated  to  a  demon.  Then  one  of  them 
who  was  bolder  than  the  others  says,  "  If  you 
have  any  trust  in  thy  God,  whom  you  say  you 
worship,  we  ourselves  will  cut  down  this  tree, 
and  be  it  your  part  to  receive  it  when  falling ; 
for  if,  as  you  declare,  your  Lord  is  with  you, 
you  will  escape  all  injury."  Then  Martin,  cour- 
ageously trusting  in  the  Lord,  promises  that  he 
would  do  what  had  been  asked.     Upon  this,  all 


that  crowd  of  heathen  agreed  to  the  condition 
named ;  for  they  held  the  loss  of  their  tree  a 
small  matter,  if  only  they  got  the  enemy  of  their 
religion  buried  beneath  its  fall.  Accordingly, 
since  that  pine-tree  was  hanging  over  in  one 
direction,  so  that  there  was  no  doubt  to  what 
side  it  would  fall  on  being  cut,  Martin,  having 
been  bound,  is,  in  accordance  with  the  decision 
of  these  pagans,  placed  in  that  spot  where,  as  no 
one  doubted,  the  tree  was  about  to  fall.  They 
began,  therefore,  to  cut  down  their  own  tree, 
with  great  glee  and  joyfulness,  while  there  was 
at  some  distance  a  great  multitude  of  wondering 
spectators.  And  now  the  pine-tree  began  to 
totter,  and  to  threaten  its  ^  own  ruin  by  falling. 
The  monks  at  a  distance  grew  pale,  and,  terri- 
fied by  the  danger  ever  coming  nearer,  had  lost 
all  hope  and  confidence,  expecting  only  the 
death  of  Martin.  But  he,  tmsting  in  the  Lord, 
and  waiting  courageously,  when  now  the  falling 
pine  had  uttered  its  expiring  crash,  while  it  was 
now  falling,  while  it  was  just  rushing  upon  him, 
simply  holding  up  his  hand  against  it,  he  put  in 
its  way  the  sign  of  salvation.  Then,  indeed, 
after  the  manner  of  a  spinning-top  (one  might 
have  thought  it  driven"  back),  it  swept  round 
to  the  opposite  side,  to  such  a  degree  that  it 
almost  crushed  the  rustics,  who  had  taken  their 
places  there  in  what  was  deemed  a  safe  spot. 
Then  truly,  a  shout  being  raised  to  heaven,  the 
heathen  were  amazed  by  the  miracle,  while  the 
monks  wept  for  joy ;  and  the  name  of  Christ 
was  in  common  extolled  by  all.  The  well-known 
result  was  that  on  that  day  salvation  came  to 
that  region.  For  there  was  hardly  one  of  that 
immense  multitude  of  heathens  who  did  not 
express  a  desire  for  the  imposition  of  hands,  and 
abandoning  his  impious  errors,  made  a  profession 
of  faith  in  the  Lord  Jesus.  Certainly,  before 
the  times  of  Martin,  very  few,  nay,  almost  none, 
in  those  regions  had  received  the  name  of  Christ ; 
but  through  his  virtues  and  example  that  name 
has  prevailed  to  such  an  extent,  that  now  there 
is  no  place  thereabouts  which  is  not  filled  either 
with  very  crowded  churches  or  monasteries. 
For  wherever  he  destroyed  heathen  temples, 
there  he  uSed  immediately  to  build  either 
churches  or  monasteries. 


CHAFTER   XIV. 

Martin  destroys  Heathen  Temples  arid  Altars. 

Nor  did  he  show  less  eminence,  much  about 
the  same  time,  in  other  transactions  of  a  like 

1  Perhaps  "  suam  "  here  stands  for  "  ejus,"  as  in  other  passages 
of  our  author.  The  meaning  will  then  be,  "  and  to  threaten  his 
(Martin's)  destruction  by  falling." 

-  It  seems  better  to  preserve  the  parenthesis  than  to  translate 
the  words  as  they  stand  in  Halm's  text,  "turn  vero — velut  tur- 
binis  modo  retro  actam  putares  —  diversam  in  partem  ruit." 


LIFE    OF    ST.    MARTIN. 


1 1 


kind.  For,  having  in  a  certain  village  set  fire 
to  a  very  ancient  and  celebrated  temple,  the 
circle  of  flames  was  carried  by  the  action  of  the 
wind  upon  a  house  which  was  very  close  to,  yea, 
connected  with,  the  temple.  When  Martin  per- 
ceived this,  he  cHmbed  by  rapid  ascent  to  the 
roof  of  the  house,  presenting  himself  in  front  of 
the  advancing  flames.  Then  indeed  might  the 
fire  have  been  seen  thrust  back  in  a  wonderful 
manner  against  the  force  of  the  wind,  so  that 
there  appeared  a  sort  of  conflict  of  the  two  ele- 
ments fighting  together.  Thus,  by  the  influence 
of  Martin,  the  fire  only  acted  in  the  place  where 
it  was  ordered  to  do  so.  But  in  a  village  which 
was  named  Leprosum,  when  he  too  wished  to 
overthrow  a  temple  which  had  acquired  great 
wealth  through  the  superstitious  ideas  enter- 
tained of  its  sanctity,  a  multitude  of  the  heathen 
resisted  him  to  such  a  degree  that  he  was  driven 
back  not  without  bodily  injury.  He,  therefore, 
withdrew  to  a  place  in  the  vicinity,  and  there 
for  three  days,  clothed  in  sackcloth  ^  and  ashes, 
fasting  and  praying  the  whole  time,  he  besought 
the  Lord,  that,  as  he  had  not  been  able  to  over- 
throw that  temple  by  human  effort,  Divine  power 
might  be  exerted  to  destroy  it.  Then  two  angels, 
with  spears  and  shields  after  the  manner  of  heav- 
enly warriors,  suddenly  presented  themselves  to 
him,  saying  that  they  were  sent  by  the  Lord  to 
put  to  flight  the  rustic  multitude,  and  to  furnish 
protection  to  Martin,  lest,  while  the  temple  was 
being  destroyed,  any  one  should  offer  resistance. 
They  told  him  therefore  to  return,  and  complete 
the  blessed  work  which  he  had  begun.  Accord- 
ingly Martin  returned  to  the  village  ;  and  while 
the  crowds  of  heathen  looked  on  in  perfect  quiet 
as  he  razed  the  pagan  temple  even  to  the  foun- 
dations, he  also  reduced  all  the  altars  and  images 
to  dust.  At  this  sight  the  rustics,  when  they 
perceived  that  they  had  been  so  astounded  and 
terrified  by  an  intervention  of  the  Divine  will, 
that  they  might  not  be  found  fighting  against 
the  bishop,  almost  all  believed  in  the  Lord  Jesus. 
They  then  began  to  cry  out  openly  and  to  con- 
fess that  the  God  of  Martin  ought  to  be  wor- 
shiped, and  that  the  idols  should  be  despised, 
which  were  not  able  to  help  them. 


CHAPTER   XV. 

Martin  offers  his  Neck  to  an  Assassin. 

I  SHALL  also  relate  what  took  place  in  the  vil- 
lage of  the  ^dui.  When  Martin  was  there  over- 
throwing a  temple^  a  multitude  of  rustic  heathen 
rushed  upon  him  in  a  frenzy  of  rage.  And  when 
one  of  them,  bolder  than  the  rest,  made  an  attack 

1  Literally  "  a  covering  made  of  Cilician  goats'  hair."  It  was 
called  Cilicium,  and  was  worn  by  soldiers  and  others. 


upon  him  with  a  drawn  sword,  Martin,  throwing 
back  his  cloak,  offered  his  bare  neck  to  the  assas- 
sin. Nor  did  the  heathen  delay  to  strike,  but  in 
the  very  act  of  lifting  up  his  right  arm,  he  fell  to 
the  ground  on  his  back,  and  being  overwhelmed 
by  the  fear  of  God,  he  entreated  for  pardon. 
Not  unlike  this  was  that  other  event  which  hap- 
pened to  Martin,  that  when  a  certain  man  had 
resolved  to  wound  him  with  a  knife  as  he  was 
destroying  some  idols,  at  the  very  moment  of 
fetching  the  blow,  the  weapon  was  struck  out  of 
his  hands  and  disappeared.  Very  frequently,  too, 
when  the  pagans  were  addressing  him  to  the 
effect  that  he  would  not  overthrow  their  temples, 
he  so  soothed  and  conciliated  the  minds  of  the 
heathen  by  his  holy  discourse  that,  the  light  of 
truth  having  been  revealed  to  them,  they  them- 
selves overthrew  their  own  temples. 


CHAPTER   XVI. 

Cures  effected  by  Si.  Martin. 

Moreover,  the  gift^  of  accomplishing  cures 
was  so  largely  possessed  by  Martin,  that  scarcely 
any  sick  person  came  to  him  for  assistance  with- 
out being  at  once  restored  to  health.  This  will 
clearly  appear  from  the  following  example.  A 
certain  girl  at  Treves'- was  so  completely  pros- 
trated by  a  terrible  paralysis  that  for  a  long  time 
she  had  been  quite  unable  to  make  use  of  her 
body  for  any  purpose,  and  being,  as  it  were, 
already  dead,  only  the  smallest  breath  of  life 
seemed  still  to  remain  in  her.  Her  afflicted 
relatives  were  standing  by,  expecting  nothing 
but  her  death,  when  it  was  suddenly  announced 
that  Martin  had  come  to  that  city.  When  the 
father  of  the  girl  found  that  such  was  the  case, 
he  ran  to  make  a  request  in  behalf  of  his  all  but 
lifeless  child.  It  happened  that  Martin  had 
already  entered  the  church.  There,  while  the 
people  were  looking  on,  and  in  the  presence  of 
many  other  bishops,  the  old  man,  uttering  a  cry 
of  grief,  embraced  the  saint's  knees  and  said  : 
"  My  daughter  is  dying  of  a  miserable  kind  of 
infirmity  ;  and,  what  is  more  dreadful  than  death 
itself,  she  is  now  alive  only  in  the  spirit,  her  flesh 
being  already  dead  before  the  time.  I  beseech 
thee  to  go  to  her,  and  give  her  thy  blessing ;  for 
I  believe  that  through  you  she  will  be  restored 
to  health."  Martin,  troubled  by  such  an  address, 
was  bewfldered,  and  shrank  back,  saying  that 
this  was  a  matter  not  in  his  own  hands  ;  that 
the  old  man  was  mistaken  in  the  judgment  he 


1  The  Latin  vioxA gratia  here  corresponds  to  the  Greek  ydpio-^in. 
St.  Paul  says  much  respecting  the  various  \o.pi<iii.a.Ta.  in  i  Cor.  xii._. 
and  speaks,  among;  others,  of  vapiV/jiaTa  ianoirwi'  (v.  9). 

^  The  name  Treveri  at  first  denoted  the  people  (as  often  ir. 
Cssar,  5^//.  Gnll.  i.  37,  &c.),  and  was  afterwards  applied  to  their 
chief  city,  the  modem  Treves 


12 


LIFE    OF    ST.    MARTIN. 


had  formed  ;  and  that  he  was  not  worthy  to  be 
the  instrument  through  whom  the  Lord  should 
make  a  display  of  his  power.  The  father,  in 
tears,  persevered  in  still  more  earnestly  pressing 
the  case,  and  entreated  Martin  to  visit  the  dying 
girl.  At  last,  constrained  by  the  bishops  stand- 
ing by  to  go  as  requested,  he  went  down  to  the 
home  of  the  girl.  An  immense  crowd  was  wait- 
ing at  the  doors,  to  see  what  the  servant  of  the 
Lord  would  do.  And  first,  betaking  himself  to 
his  familiar  arms  in  affairs  of  that  kind,  he  cast 
himself  down  on  the  ground  and  prayed.  Then 
gazing  earnestly  upon  the  ailing  girl,  he  requests 
that  oil  should  be  given  him.  After  he  had  re- 
ceived and  blessed  this,  he  poured  the  powerful 
sacred  liquid  into  the  mouth  of  the  girl,  and  im- 
mediately her  voice  returned  to  her.  Then  gradu- 
ally, through  contact  with  him,  her  limbs  began, 
one  by  one,  to  recover  life,  till,  at  last,  in  the 
presence  of  the  people,  she  arose  with  firm  steps. 


CHAPTER  XVII. 
Martin  casts  out  Several  Devils. 

At  the  same  time  the  servant  of  one  Tetra- 
dius,  a  man  of  proconsular  rank,  having  been 
laid  hold  of  by  a  demon,  was  tormented  with 
the  most  miserable  results.  Martin,  therefore, 
having  been  asked  to  lay  his  hands  on  him,  or- 
dered the  servant  to  be  brought  to  him ;  but  the 
evil  spirit  could,  in  no  way,  be  brought  forth  from 
the  cell  in  which  he  was  :  he  showed  himself  so 
fearful,  with  ferocious  teeth,  to  those  who  at- 
tempted to  draw  near.  Then  Tetradius  throws 
himself  at  the  feet  of  the  saintly  man,  imploring 
that  he  himself  would  go  down  to  the  house  in 
which  the  possessed  of  the  devil  was  kept.  But 
Martin  then  declared  that  he  could  not  visit  the 
house  of  an  unconverted  heathen.  For  Tetra- 
dius, at  that  time,  was  still  involved  in  the  errors 
of  heathenism.  He,  therefore,  pledges  his  word 
that  if  the  demon  were  driven  out  of  the  boy, 
he  would  become  a  Christian.  Martin,  then, 
laying  his  hand  upon  the  boy,  cast  the  evil  spirit 
out  of  him.  On  seeing  this,  Tetradius  believed 
in  the  Lord  Jesus,  and  immediately  became  a 
catechumen,  while,  not  long  after,  he  was  bap- 
tized ;  and  he  alwavs  regarded  Martin  with  ex- 
traordinary  affection,  as  having  been  the  author 
of  his  salvation. 

About  the  same  time,  having  entered  the 
dwelling  of  a  certain  householder  in  the  same 
town,  he  stopped  short  at  the  very  threshold,  and 
said,  that  he  perceived  a  horril)le  demon  in  the 
court-yard  of  the  house.  When  Martin  ordered 
it  to  depart,  it  laid  hold  of  a  certain  member  of 


the  family,  who  was  staying  in  the  inner  part  of 
the  house  ;  and  the  poor  wretch  began  at  once  to 
rage  with  his  teeth,  and  to  lacerate  whomsoever 
he  met.  The  house  was  thrown  into  disorder ; 
the  family  was  in  confusion ;  and  the  people 
present  took  to  flight.  Martin  threw  himself  in 
the  way  of  the  frenzied  creature,  and  first  of  all 
commanded  him  to  stand  still.  But  when  he 
continued  to  gnash  with  his  teeth,  and,  with 
gaping  mouth,  was  threatening  to  bite,  Martin 
inserted  his  fingers  into  his  mouth,  and  said, 
"  If  you  possess  any  power,  devour  these."  But 
then,  as  if  red-hot  iron  had  entered  his  jaws, 
drawing  his  teeth  far  away  he  took  care  not  to 
touch  the  fingers  of  the  saintly  man ;  and  when 
he  was  compelled  by  punishments  and  tortures, 
to  flee  out  of  the  possessed  body,  while  he  had 
no  power  of  escaping  by  the  mouth,  he  was  cast 
out  by  means  of  a  defluxion  of  the  belly,  leaving 
disgusting  traces  behind  him. 


CHAPTER  XVHL 
Martin  performs  Various  Miracles. 

Ix  the  meanwhile,  as  a  sudden  report  had 
troubled  the  city  as  to  the  movement  and 
inroad  of  the  barbarians,  Martin  orders  a  pos- 
sessed person  to  be  set  before  him,  and  com- 
manded him  to  declare  whether  this  message 
was  true  or  not.  Then  he  confessed  that  there 
were  sixteen  demons  who  had  spread  this  report 
among  the  people,  in  order  that  by  the  fear  thus 
excited,  Martin  might  have  to  flee  from  the  city, 
but  that,  in  fact,  nothing  was  less  in  the  minds 
of  the  barbarians  than  to  make  any  inroad. 
When  the  unclean  spirit  thus  acknowledged  these 
things  in  the  midst  of  the  church,  the  city  wxs 
set  free  from  the  fear  and  tumult  which  had  at 
the  time  been  felt. 

At  Paris,  again,  when  Martin  was  entering  the 
gate  of  the  city,  with  large  crowds  attending 
him,  he  gave  a  kiss  to  a  leper,  of  miserable  ap- 
pearance, while  all  shuddered  at  seeing  him  do 
so ;  and  Martin  blessed  him,  with  the  result 
that  he  was  instantly  cleansed  from  all  his  mis- 
ery. On  the  following  day,  the  man  appearing 
in  the  church  with  a  healthy  skin,  gave  thanks 
for  the  soundness  of  body  which  he  had  recov- 
ered. This  fact,  too,  ought  not  to  be  passed 
over  in  silence,  that  threads  from  Martin's  gar- 
ment, or  such  as  had  been  plucked  from  the 
sackcloth  which  he  wore,  wrought  frequent  mir- 
acles upon  those  who  were  sick.  For,  by  either 
being  tied  round  the  fingers  or  placed  about  the 
neck,  they  very  often  drove  away  diseases  from 
the  afflicted. 


LIFE   OF    ST.    MARTIN. 


13 


CHAPTER   XIX. 

A  Letter  of  Martin  effects  a   Cure,  7uith  Other 
Miracles. 

Further,  Arborius,  an  ex-prefect,  and  a  man 
of  a  very  holy  and  faithful  character,  while  his 
daughter  was  in  agony  from  the  burning  fever 
of  a  quartan  ague,  inserted  in  the  bosom  of  the 
girl,  at  the  very  paroxysm  of  the  heat,  a  letter 
of  Martin  which  happened  to  have  been  brought 
to  him,  and  immediately  the  fever  was  dispelled. 
This  event  had  such  an  influence  upon  Arborius, 
that  he  at  once  consecrated  the  girl  to  God,  and 
devoted  her  to  perpetual  virginity.  Then,  pro- 
ceeding to  Martin,  he  presented  the  girl  to  him, 
as  an  obvious  living  example  of  his  power  of 
working  miracles,  inasmuch  as  she  had  been 
cured  by  him  though  absent ;  and  he  would  not 
suffer  her  to  be  consecrated  by  any  other  than 
Martin,  through  his  placing  upon  her  the  dress 
characteristic  of  virginity. 

Paulinas,  too,  a  man  who  was  afterwards  to 
furnish  a  striking  example  of  the  age,  having  be- 
gun to  suffer  grievously  in  one  of  his  eyes,  and 
when  a  pretty  thick  skin  ^  having  grown  over  it 
had  already  covered  up  its  pupil,  Martin  touched 
his  eye  with  a  painter's  brush,  and,  all  pain 
being  removed,  thus  restored  it  to  its  former 
soundness.  He  himself  also,  when,  by  a  certain 
accident,  he  had  fallen  out  of  an  upper  room, 
and  tumbling  down  a  broken,  uneven  stair,  had 
received  many  wounds,  as  he  lay  in  his  cell  at 
the  point  of  death,  and  was  tortured  with  griev- 
ous sufferings,  saw  in  the  night  an  angel  appear 
to  him,  who  washed  his  wounds,  and  applied 
healing  ointment  to  the  bruised  members  of  his 
body.  As  the  effect  of  this,  he  found  himself  on 
the  morrow  restored  to  soundness  of  health,  so 
that  he  was  not  thought  to  have  suffered  any 
harm.  But  because  it  would  be  tedious  to  go 
through  everything  of  this  kind,  let  these  ex- 
amples suffice,  as  a  few  out  of  a  multitude  ;  and 
let  it  be  enough  that  we  do  not  in  striking  cases 
[of  miraculous  interposition]  detract  from  the 
truth,  while,  having  so  many  to  choose  from,  we 
avoid  exciting  weariness  in  the  reader. 


CHAPTER  XX. 

How  Martin  acted  towards  the  Emperor 
Maxim  us. 


And  here  to  insert  some  smaller  matters 
among  things  so  great  (although  such  is  the 
nature  of  our  times  in  which  all  things  have 
fallen  into  decay  and  corruption,  it  is  almost  a 
pre-eminent  virtue  for  priestly  firmness  not  to 


have  yielded  to  royal  flattery),  when  a  number 
of  bishops  from  various  parts  had  assembled  to 
the  Emperor  Maximus,  a  man  of  fierce  charac- 
ter, and  at  that  time  elated  with  the  victory  ht 
had  won  in  the  civil  wars,  and  when  the  dis- 
graceful flattery  of  all  around  the  emperor  was 
generally  remarked,  while    the    priestly  dignity 
hadj  with   degenerate    submissiveness,  taken   a 
second    place  to  the  royal   retinue,  in  Martin 
alone,  apostolic    authority  continued    to    assert 
itself.     For  even  if  he  had  to  make  suit  to  the' 
sovereign  for  some  things,  he  commanded  rather 
than  entreated  him  ;  and  although  often  invited, 
he   kept  away   from  his  entertainments,  saying 
that  he  could  not  take  a  place  at  the  table  of 
one  who,  out  of  two  emperors,  had    deprived 
one  of  his  kingdom,  and  the  other  of  his  life. 
At  last,  when  Maximus  maintained  that  he  had 
not  of  his  own  accord  assumed  the  sovereignty, 
but  that  he  had  simply  defended  by  arms  the 
necessary  requirements  ^  of  the  empire,  regard  to 
which  had  been  imposed  upon  him  by  the  sol- 
diers, according  to  the  Divine  appointment,  and 
that  the  favor  of  God  did  not  seem  wanting  to 
him  who,  by  an  event  seemingly  so  incredible, 
had   secured    the   victory,   adding   to    that    the 
statement  that  none  of  his  adversaries  had  been 
slain   except   in   the   open    field   of   battle,   at 
length,  Martin,  overcome  either  by  his  reasoning 
or  his  entreaties,  came   to  the    royal   banquet. 
The  king  was  wonderfully  pleased  because  he 
had  gained  this    point.     Moreover,  there  were 
guests  present  who  had  been  invited  as  if  to  a 
festival ;  men  of  the  highest  and  most  illustrious 
rank,  —  the  prefect,  who  was  also  consul,  named 
Evodius,  one  of  the  most  righteous  men   that 
ever  lived  ;  two  courtiers  possessed  of  the  great- 
est power,  the  brother  and  uncle  of  the  king, 
while  between  these  two,  the  presbyter  of  Mar- 
tin had  taken  his  place  ;  but  he  himself  occupied 
a  seat  which  was  set  quite   close  to  the  king. 
About  the  middle  of  the  banquet,  according  to 
custom,  one  of  the  servants  presented  a  goblet 
to  the  king.     He  orders  it  rather  to  be  given  to 
the  very  holy  bishop,  expecting  and  hoping  that 
he  should  then  receive  the  cup  from  his  right 
hand.     But  Martin,  when  he  had  drunk,  handed 
the  goblet  to  his  own  presbyter,  as  thinking  no 
one  worthier  to  drink  next  to  himself,  and  hold- 
ing that  it  would  not  be  right  for  him  to  prefer 
either  the  king  himself,  or  those  who  were  next 
the  king,  to  the  presbyter.     And  the  emperor, 
as  well  as  all  those  who  were  then  present,  ad- 
mired this  conduct  so  much,  that  this  very  thing, 
by  which  they  had  been  undervalued,  gave  them 
pleasure.      The   report   then   ran   through    the 
whole   palace    that    Martin    had    done,  at   the 
king's  dinner,  what  no  bishop  had  dared  to  do 


1  "  Nubes,"  lit.  "  a  cloud. 


1  "  Regni  necessitatem  "  —  an  awkward  expression. 


14 


LIFE    OF    ST.    MARTIN. 


at  the  banquets  of  the  lowest  judges.  And 
Martin  predicted  to  the  same  Maximus  long 
before,  that  if  he  went  into  Italy  to  which  he 
then  desired  to  go,  waging  war,  against  the 
Emperor  Valentinianus,  it  would  come  to  pass 
that  he  should  know  he  would-  indeed  be  victo- 
rious in  the  first  attack,  but  would  perish  a  short 
time  afterwards.  And  we  have  seen  that  this 
did  in  fact  take  place.  For,  on  his  first  arrival, 
Valentinianus  had  to  betake  himself  to  flight  ; 
but  recovering  his  strength  about  a  year  after- 
wards, Maximus  was  taken  and  slain  by  him 
within  the  walls  of  Aquileia. 


CHAPTER   XXI. 

Martin  has  to  do  both  with  Angels  and  Devils. 

It  is  also  well  known  that  angels  were  very 
often  seen  by  him,  so  that  they  spoke  in  turns 
with  him  in  set  speech.  As  to  the  devil,  Martin 
held  him  so  visible  and  ever  under  the  power  of 
his  eyes,  that  whether  he  kept  himself  in  his 
proper  form,  or  changed  himself  into  different 
shapes  of  spiritual  wickedness,  he  was  perceived 
by  Martin,  under  whatever  guise  he  appeared. 
The  devil  knew  well  that  he  could  not  escape 
discovery,  and  therefore  frequently  heaped  in- 
sults upon  Martin,  being  unable  to  beguile  him 
by  trickery.  On  one  occasion  the  devil,  hold- 
ing in  his  hand  the  bloody  horn  of  an  ox, 
rushed  into  Martin's  cell  with  great  noise,  and 
holding  out  to  him  his  bloody  right  hand,  while 
at  the  same  time  he  exulted  in  the  crime  he 
had  committed,  said  :  "  Where,  O  Martin,  is  thy 
power?  I  have  just  slain  one  of  your  people." 
Then  Martin  assembled  the  brethren,  and  related 
to  them  what  the  devil  had  disclosed,  while  he 
ordered  them  carefully  to  search  the  several 
cells  in  order  to  discover  who  had  been  visited 
with  this  calamity.  They  report  that  no  one  of 
the  monks  was  missing,  but  that  one  peasant, 
hired  by  them,  had  gone  to  the  forest  to  bring 
home  wood  in  his  wagon.  Upon  hearing  this, 
Martin  instructs  some  of  them  to  go  and  meet 
him.  On  their  doing  so,  the  man  was  found 
almost  dead  at  no  great  distance  from  the  mon- 
astery. Nevertheless,  although  just  drawing  his 
last  breath,  he  made  known  to  the  brethren  the 
cause  of  his  wound  and  death.  He  said  that, 
while  he  was  drawing  tighter  the  thongs  which 
had  got  loose  on  the  oxen  yoked  together,  one 
of  the  oxen,  throwing  his  head  free,  had  wounded 
him  with  his  horn  in  the  groin.  And  not  long 
after  the  man  expired.  You '  see  with  what 
judgment  of  the  Lord  this  power  was  given  to 
the  devil.      This   was   a   marvelous   feature  in 


-  There  is  considerable  confusion  in  this  sentence. 
1  Halm  reads  the  imperative  "  videris,"  "  consider." 


Martin  that  not  only  on  this  occasion  to  wliich 
I  have  specially  referred,  but  on  many  occasions 
of  the  same  kind,  in  fact  as  often  as  such  things 
occurred,  he  perceived  them  long  beforehand, 
and  ^  disclosed  the  things  which  had  been  re- 
vealed to  him  to  the  brethren. 


CHAPTER   XXIL 

Martin  preaches  Repentance  even  to  the  Devil. 

Now,  the  devil,  while  he  tried  to  impose  upon 
the  holy  man  by  a  thousand  injurious  arts,  often 
thrust  himself  upon  him  in  a  visible  form,  but  in 
very  various  shapes.  For  sometimes  he  pre- 
sented himself  to  his  view  changed  into  the  per- 
son of  Jupiter,  often  into  that  of  Mercury  and 
Minerva.  Often,  too,  were  heard  words  of  re- 
proach, in  which  the  crowd  of  demons  assailed 
Martin  with  scurrilous  expressions.  But  know- 
ing that  all  were  false  and  groundless,  he  was 
not  affected  by  the  charges  brought  against  him. 
Moreover,  some  of  the  brethren  bore  witness 
that  they  had  heard  a  demon  reproaching  Mar- 
tin in  abusive  terms,  and  asking  why  he  had 
taken  back,  on  their  subsequent  repentance, 
certain  of  the  brethren  who  had,  some  time 
previously,  lost  their  baptism  by  falling  into 
various  errors.  The  demon  set  forth  the  crimes 
of  each  of  them  ;  but  they  added  that  Martin, 
resisting  the  devil  firmly,  answered  him,  that 
by-past  sins  are  cleansed  away  by  the  leading 
of  a  better  life,  and  that  through  the  mercy  of 
God,  those  are  to  be  absolved  from  their  sins 
who  have  given  up  their  evil  ways.  The  devil 
saying  in  opposition  to  this  that  such  guilty  men 
as  those  referred  to  did  not  come  within  the 
pale  of  pardon,  and  that  no  mercy  was  extended 
by  the  Lord  to  those  who  had  once  fallen  away, 
Martin  is  said  to  have  cried  out  in  words  to  the 
following  effect :  "  If  thou,  thyself,  wretched 
being,  wouldst  but  desist  from  attacking  mankind, 
and  even,  at  this  period,  when  the  day  of  judg- 
ment is  at  hand,  wouldst  only  repent  of  your 
deeds,  I,  with  a  true  confidence  in  the  Lord, 
would  promise  you  the  mercy  of  Christ."  '  O 
what  a  holy  boldness  with  respect  to  the  loving- 
kindness  of  the  Lord,  in  which,  although  he 
could  not  assert  authority,  he  nevertheless  showed 
the  feelings  dwelling  within  him  !  And  since 
our  discourse  has  here  sprung  up  concerning 
the  devil  and  his  devices,  it  does  not  seem  away 
from  the  point,  although  the   matter  does  not 

*  Halm  reads  "aut  sibi  nuntiata  fratribus  indicabat." 
'  This  is  a  truly  noteworthy  passage.  It  anticipates  a  well- 
known  sentiment  of  Burns,  the  national  bard  of  Scotland.  In  his 
AJdrt'ss  to  the  Dci!,  Burns  has  said  that  if  the  great  enemy  would 
only  "  tak  a  thocht  an'  men',"  he  might  still  have  a  chance  of  safety, 
.Tnd  this  idea  .seems  very  much  in  accordance  with  the  opinion  of 
St.  Martin  as  expressed  above.  Hornius,  hiwevcr,  is  ver>'  indig- 
nant on  account  of  it,  and  e.\claims:  "  Intolerabilis  hie  Martini 
error.  Nee  .Sulpicius  e.xcusatione  sua  demit,  sed  auget.  Orig<"nes 
primus  ejus  erroris  author." 


LIFE    OF    ST.    MARTIN. 


15 


bear  immediately  upon  Martin,  to  relate  what 
took  place  ;  both  because  the  virtues  of  Martin 
do,  to  some  extent,  appear  in  the  transaction, 
and  the  incident,  wliich  was  worthy  of  a  miracle, 
will  properly  be  put  on  record,  with  the  view  of 
furnishing  a  caution,  should  anything  of  a  similar 
character  subsequently  occur. 


CHAPTER   XXIII. 

A  Case  of  Diabolic  Deception. 

There  was  a  certain  man,  Clarus  by  name,  a 
most  noble  youth,  who  afterwards  became  a 
presbyter,  and  who  is  now,  through  his  happy 
departure  from  this  world,  numbered  among  the 
saints.  He,  leaving  all  others,  betook  himself 
to  Martin,  and  in  a  short  time  became  distin- 
guished for  the  most  exalted  faith,  and  for  all 
sorts  of  excellence.  Now,  it  came  to  pass  that, 
when  he  had  erected  an  abode  for  himself  not 
far  from  the  monastery  of  the  bishop,  and  many 
brethren  were  staying  with  him,  a  certain  youth, 
Anatolius  by  name,  having,  under  the  profession 
of  a  monk,  falsely  assumed  every  appearance  of 
humility  and  innocence,  came  to  him,  and  lived 
for  some  time  on  the  common  store  along  with 
the  rest.  Then,  as  time  went  or\,  he  began  to 
afifirm  that  angels  were  in  the  habit  of  talking 
with  him.  As  no  one  gave  any  credit  to  his 
words,  he  urged  a  number  of  the  brethren  to 
believe  by  certain  signs.  At  length  he  went  to 
such  a  length  as  to  declare  that  angels  passed 
between  him  and  God  ;  and  now  he  wished  that 
he  should  be  regarded  as  one  of  the  prophets. 
Clarus,  however,  could  by  no  means  be  induced 
to  beUeve.  He  then  began  to  threaten  Clarus 
with  the  anger  of  God  and  present  afflictions, 
because  he  did  not  believe  one  of  the  saints. 
At  the  last,  he  is  related  to  have  burst  forth  with 
the  following  declaration  :  "  Behold,  the  Lord 
will  this  night  give  me  a  white  robe  out  of 
heaven,  clothed  in  which,  I  will  dwell  in  the 
midst  of  you  ;  and  that  will  be  to  you  a  sign 
that  I  am  the  Power  of  God,  inasmuch  as  I 
have  been  presented  with  the  garment  of  God." 
Then  truly  the  expectation  of  all  was  highly 
raised  by  this  profession.  Accordingly,  about  the 
middle  of  the  night,  it  was  seen,  by  the  noise  of 
people  moving  eagerly  about,  that  the  whole 
monastery  in  the  place  was  excited.  It  might 
be  seen,  too,  that  the  cell  in  which  the  young 
man  referred  to  lived  was  glittering  with  numer- 
ous lights  ;  and  the  whisperings  of  those  moving 
about  in  it,  as  well  as  a  kind  of  murmur  of  many 
voices,  could  be  heard.  Then,  on  silence  being 
secured,  the  youth  coming  forth  calls  one  of  the 
brethren,  Sabatius  by  name,  to  himself,  and  shows 
him  the  robe  in  which  he  had  been  clothed.    He 


again,  filled  with  amazement,  gathers  the  rest 
together,  and  Clarus  himself  also  runs  up ;  and 
a  light  being  obtained,  they  all  carefully  inspect 
the  garment.  Now,  it  was  of  the  utmost  soft- 
ness, of  marvelous  brightness,  and  of  glittering 
purple,  and  yet  no  one  could  discover  what  was 
its  nature,  or  of  what  sort  of  fleece  it  had  been 
formed.  However,  when  it  was  more  minutely 
examined  by  the  eyes  or  fingers,  it  seemed  nothing 
else  than  a  garment.  In  the  meantime,  Clarus 
urges  upon  the  brethren  to  be  earnest  in  prayer, 
that  the  Lord  would  show  them  more  clearly 
what  it  really  was.  Accordingly,  the  rest  of  the 
night  was  spent  in  singing  hymns  and  psalms. 
But  when  day  broke,  Clarus  wished  to  take  the 
young  man  by  the  hand,  and  bring  him  to  Mar- 
tin, being  well  aware  that  he  could  not  be  de- 
ceived by  any  arts  of  the  devil.  Then,  indeed, 
the  miserable  man  began  to  resist  and  refuse, 
and  affirmed  that  he  had  been  forbidden  to  show 
himself  to  Martin.  And  when  they  compelled 
him  to  go  against  his  will,  the  garment  vanished 
from  among  the  hands  of  those  who  were  con- 
ducting him.  Wherefore,  who  can  doubt  that 
this,  too,  was  an  illustration  of  the  power  of 
Martin,  so  that  the  devil  could  no  longer  dis- 
semble or  conceal  his  own  deception,  when  it 
was  to  be  submitted  to  the  eyes  of  Martin? 


CHAPTER  XXIV. 

Martin  is  tempted  by  the  Wiles  of  the  Devil. 

It  was  found,  again,  that  about  the  same  time 
there  was  a  young  man  in  Spain,  who,  having  by 
many  signs  obtained  for  himself  authority  among 
the  people,  was  puffed  up  to  such  a  pitch  that 
he  gave  himself  out  as  being  Elias.  And  when 
multitudes  had  too  readily  believed  this,  he  went 
on  to  say  that  he  was  actually  Christ ;  and  he 
succeeded  so  well  even  in  this  delusion  that  a 
certain  bishop  named  Rufus  worshiped  him  as 
being  the  Lord.  For  so  doing,  we  have  seen 
this  bishop  at  a  later  date  deprived  of  his  office. 
Many  of  the  brethren  have  also  informed  me 
that  at  the  same  time  one  arose  in  the  East,  who 
boasted  that  he  was  John.  We  may  infer  from 
this,  since  false  prophets  of  such  a  kind  have 
appeared,  that  the  coming  of  Antichrist  is  at 
hand  ;  for  he  is  already  practicing  in  these  per- 
sons the  mystery  of  iniquity.  And  truly  I  think 
this  point  should  not  be  passed  over,  with  what 
arts  the  devil  about  this  very  time  tempted  Mar- 
tin. For,  on  a  certain  day,  prayer^  having  been 
previously  offered,  and  the  fiend  himself  being 
surrounded  by  a  purple  light,  in  order  that  he 
might  the  more  easily  deceive  people  by  the 
brilliance  of  the  splendor  assumed,  clothed  also 

^  "  Prcce  "  for  the  usual  reading  "  prae  se." 


i6 


LIFE   OF   ST.    MARTIN. 


in  a  royal  robe,  and  with  a  crown  of  precious 
stones  and  gold  encircling  his  head,  his  shoes 
too  being  inlaid  with  gold,  while  he  presented  a 
tranquil  countenance,  and  a  generally  rejoicing 
aspect,  so  that  no  such  thought  as  that  he  was 
the  devil  might  be  entertained  —  he  stood  by 
the  side  of  Martin  as  he  was  praying  in  his  cell. 
The  saint  being  dazzled  by  his  first  appearance, 
both  preserved  a  long  and  deep  silence.  This 
was  first  broken  by  the  devil,  who  said  :  "  Ac- 
knowledge, Martin,  who  it  is  that  you  behold. 
I  am  Christ ;  and  being  just  about  to  descend 
to  earth,  I  wished  first  to  manifest  myself  to 
thee."  When  Martin  kept  silence  on  hearing 
these  words,  and  gave  no  answer  whatever,  the 
devil  dared  to  repeat  his  audacious  declaration  : 
"  Martin,  why  do  you  hesitate  to  believe,  when 
you  see?  I  am  Christ."  Then  Martin,  the 
Spirit  revealing  the  truth  to  him,  that  he  might 
understand  it  was  the  devil,  and  not  God,  re- 
plied as  follows  :  "  The  Lord  Jesus  did  not  pre- 
dict that  he  would  come  clothed  in  purple,  and 
with  a  glittering  crown  upon  his  head.  I  will 
not  believe  that  Christ  has  come,  unless  he  ap- 
pears with  that  appearance  and  form  in  which 
he  suffered,  and  openly  displaying  the  marks  of 
his  wounds  upon  the  cross."  On  hearing  these 
words,  the  devil  vanished  like  smoke,  and  filled 
the  cell  with  such  a  disgusting  smell,  that  he  left 
unmistakable  evidences  of  his  real  character. 
This  event,  as  I  have  just  related,  took  place  in 
the  way  which  I  have  stated,  and  my  informa- 
tion regarding  it  was  derived  from  the  lips  of 
Martin  himself;  therefore  let  no  one  regard  it 
as  fabulous.^ 


CHAPTER    XXV. 

Intercourse  of  Sitlpiiius  with  Martin. 

For  since  I,  having  long  heard  accounts  of 
his  faith,  life  and  virtues,  burned  with  a  desire 
of  knowing  him,  I  undertook  what  was  to  me  a 
pleasant  journey  for  the  purpose  of  seeing  him. 
At  the  same  time,  because  already  my  mind  was 
inflamed  with  the  desire  of  writing  his  life,  I 
obtained  my  information  partly  from  himself,  in 
so  far  as  I  could  venture  to  question  him,  and 
partly  from  those  who  had  lived  with  him,  or 
well  knew  the  facts  of  the  case.  And  at  this 
time  it  is  scarcely  credible  with  what  humility 
and  with  what  kindness  he  received  me  ;  while 
he  cordially  wished  me  joy,  and  rejoiced  in  the 
Lord  that  he  had  been  held  in  such  high  estima- 
tion by  me  that  I  had  undertaken  a  journey 
owing  to  my  desire  of  seeing  him.  Unworthy 
me  !  (in  fact,  I  hardly  dare  acknowledge  it),  that 

*  In  spite  of  the  combined  testimony  of  Martin  and  Sulpitius 
here  referred  to,  few  will  have  any  doubt  as  to  the  real  character  of 
this  narrative. 


he  should  have  deigned  to  admit  me  to  fellow- 
ship with  him  !  He  went  so  far  as  in  person  to 
present  me  with  water  to  wash  my  hands,  and 
at  eventide  he  himself  washed  my  feet ;  nor  had 
I  sufficient  courage  to  resist  or  oppose  his  doing 
so.  Li  fact,  I  felt  so  overcome  by  the  authority 
he  unconsciously  exerted,  that  I  deemed  it  un- 
lawful to  do  anything  but  acquiesce  in  his  ar- 
rangements. His  conversation  with  me  was  all 
directed  to  such  points  as  the  following  :  that  the 
allurements  of  this  world  and  secular  burdens 
were  to  be  abandoned  in  order  that  we  micrht 
be  free  and  unencumbered  in  following  the  Lord 
Jesus  ;  and  he  pressed  upon  me  as  an  admirable 
example  in  present  circumstances  the  conduct 
of  that  distinguished  man  Paulinus,  of  whom  I 
have  made  mention  above.  Martin  declared  of 
him  that,  by  parting  with  his  great  possessions 
and  following  Christ,  as  he  did,  he  showed  him- 
self almost  the  only  one  who  in  these  times  had 
fully  obeyed  the  precepts  of  the  Gospel.  He 
insisted  strongly  that  that  was  the  man  who 
should  be  made  the  object  of  our  imitation, 
adding  that  the  present  age  was  fortunate  in 
possessing  such  a  model  of  faith  and  virtue. 
For  Paulinus,  being  rich  and  having  many  pos- 
sessions, by  selling  them  all  and  giving  them  to 
the  poor  according  to  the  expressed  will  of  the 
Lord,  had,  he  said,  made  possible  by  actual 
proof  what  appeared  impossible  of  accomplish- 
ment. What  power  and  dignity  there  were  in 
Martin's  words  and  conversation  !  How  active 
he  was,  how  practical,  and  how  prompt  and 
ready  in  solving  questions  connected  with 
Scripture  !  And  because  I  know  that  many  are 
incredulous  on  this  point, — for  indeed  I  have  met 
with  persons  who  did  not  believe  me  when  I  re- 
lated such  things,  —  I  call  to  witness  Jesus,  and 
our  common  hope  as  Christians,  that  I  never 
heard  from  any  other  lips  than  those  of  Martin 
such  exhibitions  of  knowledge  and  genius,  or 
such  specimens  of  good  and  pure  speech.  But 
yet,  how  insignificant  is  all  such  praise  when 
compared  with  the  virtues  which  he  possessed  ! 
Still,  it  is  remarkable  that  in  a  man  who  had  no 
claim  to  be  called  learned,  even  this  attribute 
[of  high  intelligence]  was  not  wanting. 


CHAPTER  XXVL 

Wo7-ds  cannot  describe  the  Excellences  of  Martin. 

But  now  my  book  must  be  brought  to  an  end, 
and  my  discourse  finished.  This  is  not  because 
all  that  was  worthy  of  being  said  concerning 
Martin  is  now  exhausted,  but  because  \,  just  as 
sluggish  poets  grow  less  careful  towards  the  end 
of  their  work,  give  over,  being  baffled  by  the 
immensity   of    the    matter.     For,  although  his 


LIFE   OF    ST.    MARTIN. 


17 


outward  deeds  could  in  some  sort  of  way  be  set 
forth  in  words,  no  language,  I  truly  own,  can 
ever  be  capable  of  describing  his  inner  life  and 
daily  conduct,  and  his  mind  always  bent  upon 
the  things  of  heaven.  No  one  can  adequately 
make  known  his  perseverance  and  self-mastery 
in  abstinence  and  fastings,  or  his  power  in 
watchings  and  prayers,  along  with  the  nights,  as 
well  as  days,  which  were  spent  by  him,  while  not 
a  moment  was  separated  from  the  service  of 
God,  either  for  indulging  in  ease,  or  engaging  in 
business.  But,  in  fact,  he  did  not  indulge  either 
in  food  or  sleep,  except  in  so  far  as  the  necessi- 
ties of  nature  required.  I  freely  confess  that, 
if,  as  the  saying  is.  Homer  himself  were  to  as- 
cend from  the  shades  below,  he  could  not  do 
justice  to  this  subject  in  words ;  to  such  an  ex- 
tent did  all  excellences  surpass  in  Martin  the 
possibility  of  being  embodied  in  language.  Never 
did  a  single  hour  or  moment  pass  in  which  he 
was  not  either  actually  engaged  in  prayer ;  or, 
if  it  happened  that  he  was  occupied  with  some- 
thing else,  still  he  never  let  his  mind  loose  from 
prayer.  In  truth,  just  as  it  is  the  custom  of 
blacksmiths,  in  the  midst  of  their  work  to  beat 
their  own  anvil  as  a  sort  of  relief  to  the  laborer, 
so  Martin  even  when  he  appeared  to  be  doing 
something  else,  was  still  engaged  in  prayer.  O 
truly  blessed  man  in  whom  there  was  no  guile  — 
judging  no  man,  condemning  no  man,  returning 
evil  for  evil  to  no  man  !  He  displayed  indeed 
such  marvelous  patience  in  the  endurance  of 
injuries,  that  even  when  he  was  chief  priest,  he 
allowed  himself  to  be  wronged  by  the  lowest 
clerics  with  impunity  ;  nor  did  he  either  remove 
them  from  the  office  on  account  of  such  con- 
duct, or,  as  far  as  in  him  lay,  repel  them  from  a 
place  in  his  affection. 


CHAPTER   XXVII. 

lVo7iderfiil  Piety  of  Martin. 

No  one  ever  saw  him  enraged,  or  excited,  or 
lamenting,  or  laughing ;  he  was  always  one  and 
the  same  :  displaying  a  kind  of  heavenly  happi- 
ness in  his  countenance,  he  seemed  to  have 
passed  the  ordinary  limits  of  human  nature. 
Never  was  there  any  word  on  his  lips  but  Christ, 


'  "  Summus  sacerdos  "  :  "  that  is,"  remarks  Homius,  "  bishop. 
They  were  also  in  those  ages  styled  Popes  (Papa;).  This  is  clear 
from  Cyprian,  Jerome,  and  others  of  a  much  later  age." 


and  never  was  there  a  feeling  in  his  heart  except 
piety,  peace,  and  tender  mercy.  Frequently,  too, 
he  used  to  weep  for  the  sins  of  those  who  showed 
themselves  his  revilers  —  those  who,  as  he  led 
his  retired  and  tranquil  life,  slandered  him  with 
poisoned  tongue  and  a  viper's  mouth.  And  truly 
we  have  had  experience  of  some  who  were  envi- 
ous of  his  virtues  and  his  life  —  who  really  hated 
in  him  what  they  did  not  see  in  themselves, 
and  what  they  had  not  power  to  imitate.  And 
—  O  wickedness  worthy  of  deepest  grief  and 
groans  !  —  some  of  his  calumniators,  although 
very  few,  some  of  his  maligners,  I  say,  were  re- 
ported to  be  no  others  than  bishops  !  Here, 
however,  it  is  not  necessary  to  name  any  one, 
although  a  good  many  of  these  people  are  still 
venting^  their  spleen  against  myself  I  shall 
deem  it  sufficient  that,  if  any  one  of  them  reads 
this  account,  and  perceives  that  he  is  himself 
pointed  at,  he  may  have  the  grace  to  blush.  But 
if,  on  the  other  hand,  he  sho\vs  anger,  he  will, 
by  that  very  fact,  own  that  he  is  among  those 
spoken  of,  though  all  the  time  perhaps  I  have 
been  thinking  of  some  other  person.  I  shall, 
however,  by  no  means  feel  ashamed  if  any  peo- 
ple of  that  sort  include  myself  in  their  hatred' 
along  with  such  a  man  as  Martin.  I  am  quite 
persuaded  of  this,  that  the  present  little  work 
will  give  pleasure  to  all  truly  good  men.  And  I 
shall  only  say  further  that,  if  any  one  read  this 
narrative  in  an  unbelieving  spirit,  he  himself  will 
fall  into  sin.  I  am  conscious'  to  myself  that  I 
have  been  induced  by  belief  in  the  facts,  and  by 
the  love  of  Christ,  to  write  these  things ;  and 
that,  in  doing  so,  I  have  set  forth  Avhat  is  well 
known,  and  recorded  what  is  true  ;  and,  as  I 
trust,  that  man  will  have  a  reward  prepared  by 
God,  not  who  shall  read  these  things,  but  who 
shall  believe  them,^ 


1  Lit.  "  are  barking  round  about." 

2  It  seems  extremely  difficult  (to  recur  to  the  point  once  more), 
after  reading  this  account  of  St.  Martin  by  Sulpitius,  to  form  any 
certain  conclusion  regarding  it.  The  writer  so  frequently  and  sol- 
emnly assures  us  of  his  good  faith,  and  there  is  such  a  verisimilitude 
about  the  style,  that  it  appears  impossible  to  accept  the  theory  of 
willful  deception  on  the  part  of  the  writer.  And  then,  he  was  so 
intimately  acquainted  with  the  subject  of  his  narrative,  that  he 
could  hardly  have  accepted  fictions  for  facts,  or  failed  in  his  estimate 
of  the  friend  he  so  much  admired  and  loved.  Altogether,  this  Life 
of  St.  Martin  seems  to  bring  before  us  one  of  the  puzzles  of  history. 
The  saint  himself  must  evidently  have  been  a  very  extraordinary 
man,  to  impress  one  of  the  talents  and  learning  of  Sulpitius  so 
remarkably  as  he  did;  but  it  is  extremely  hard  to  say  how  far  the 
miraculous  narratives,  which  enter  so  largely  into  the  account  before 
us,  were  due  to  pure  invention,  or  unconscious  hallucination.  Milner 
remarks  {Church  History,  II.  193),  "  I  should  be  ashamed,  as  well 
as  think  the  labor  ill  spent,  to  recite  the  stories  at  length  which 
Sulpitius  gives  us."  See,  on  the  other  side.  Cardinal  Newman's 
Essays  on  Miracles,  p.  127,  209,  &c. 


THE    LETTERS    OF    SULPITIUS    SEVERUS. 


-»oJ»io°- 


LETTER    I. 


TO    EUSEBIUS. 


Against  Sonie  Envious  Assailants  of  Martin. 

Yesterday  a  number  of  monks  having  come 
to  me,  it  happened  that  amid  endless  fables,  and 
much  tiresome  discourse,  mention  was  made  of 
the  little  work  which  I  published  concerning  the 
life  of  that  saintly  man  Martin,  and  I  was  most 
happy  to  hear  that  it  was  being  eagerly  and  care- 
fully read  by  multitudes.  In  the  meantime,  how- 
ever, I  was  told  that  a  certain  person,  under  the 
influence  of  an  evil  spirit,  had  asked  why  Martin, 
who  was  said  to  have  raised  the  dead  and  to 
have  rescued  houses  from  the  flames,  had  him- 
self recently  become  subject  to  the  power  of  fire, 
and  thus  been  exposed  to  suffering  of  a  danger- 
ous character.  Wretched  man,  whoever  he  is, 
that  expressed  himself  thus  !  We  recognize  his 
perfidious  talk  in  the  words  of  the  Jews  of  old, 
who  reviled  the  Lord,  when  hanging  upon  the 
cross,  in  the  following  terms  :  "  He  saved  others  ; 
himself  he  cannot  save."  ^  Truly  it  is  clear  that, 
whoever  be  the  person  referred  to,  if  he  had 
lived  in  those  times,  he  would  have  been  quite 
prepared  to  speak  against  the  Lord  in  these 
terms,  inasmuch  as  he  blasphemes  a  saint  of  the 
Lord,  after  a  like  fashion.  How  then,  I  ask 
thee,  whosoever  thou  art,  how  does  the  case 
stand?  Was  Martin  really  not  possessed  of 
power,  and  not  a  partaker  of  holiness,  because 
he  became  exposed  to  danger  from  fire  ?  O 
thou  blessed  man,  and  in  all  things  like  to  the 
Apostles,  even  in  the  reproaches  which  are  thus 
heaped  upon  thee  !  Assuredly  those  Gentiles 
are  reported  to  have  entertained  the  same  sort 
of  thought  respecting  Paul  also,  when  the  viper 
had  bitten  him,  for  they  said,  "  This  man  must 
be  a  murderer,  whom,  although  saved  from  the 
sea,  the  fates  do  not  permit  to  live."  -  But  he, 
shaking  off  the  viper  into  the  fire,  suffered  no 
harm.  They,  however,  imagined  that  he  would 
suddenly  fall  down,  and  s])eedily  die  ;  but  when 
they  saw  that  no  harm  befell  him,  changing  their 
minds,  they  said  that  he  was  a  God.     But,  O 


'  St.  Malt,  xxvii.  ^2. 


'  Acts  xxviii.  4. 


thou  most  miserable  of  men,  you  ought,  even 
from  that  example  to  have  yourself  been  con- 
vinced of  your  falsity ;  so  that,  if  it  had  proved 
a  stumbling-block  to  thee  that  Martin  appeared 
touched  by  the  flame  of  fire,  you  should,  on 
the  other  hand,  have  ascribed  his  being  merely 
touched  to  his  merits  and  power,  because,  though 
surrounded  by  flames,  he  did  not  perish.  For 
acknowledge,  thou  miserable  man,  acknowledge 
what  you  seem  ignorant  of,  that  almost  all  the 
saints  have  been  more  remarkable  for"  the  dangers 
they  encountered,  than  even  for  the  virtues  they 
displayed.  I  see,  indeed,  Peter  strong  in  faith, 
walking  over  the  waves  of  the  sea,  in  opposition 
to  the  nature  of  things,  and  that  he  pressed  the 
unstable  waters  with  his  footprints.  But  not 
on  that  account  does  the  preacher  of  the  Gen- 
tiles^ seem  to  me  a  smaller  man,  whom  the 
waves  swallowed  up  ;  and,  after  three  days  ^  and 
three  nights,  the  water  restored  him  emerging 
from  the  deep.  Nay,  I  am  almost  inchned  to 
think  that  it  was  a  greater  thing  to  have  lived  in 
the  deep,  than  to  have  walked  along  the  depths  of 
the  sea.  But,  thou  foolish  man,  you  had  not,  as 
I  suppose,  read  these  things  ;  or,  having  read 
them,  had  not  understood  them.  For  the 
blessed  Evangelist  would  not  have  recorded  in 
holy  writ  an  incident  of  that  kind  —  under  divine 
guidance  —  (except  that,  from  such  cases,  the 
human  mind  might  be  instructed  as  to  the  dan- 
gers connected  with  shipwrecks  and  serpents  1) 
and,  as  the  Apostle  relates,  who  gloried  in  his 
nakedness,  and  hunger,  and  perils  from  robbers, 
all  these  things  are  indeed  to  be  endured  in 
common  by  holy  men,  but  that  it  has  always 
been  the  chief  excellence  of  the  righteous  in 
enduring  and  conquering  such  things,  while  amid 
all  their  trials,  being  patient  and  ever  uncon- 
querable, they  overcame  them  all  the  more 
courageously,  the  heavier  was  the  burden  which 
they  had  to  bear.  Hence  this  event  which  is 
ascribed  to  the  infirmity  of  Martin  is,  in  reality, 
full  of  dignity  and  glory,  since  indeed,  being  tried 

^  "  magis  insignes  periculorum  suorum  "  :  such  is  the  construc- 
tion of  insigiiis  with  later  writers. 

■"  This  refers  to  St.  Paul,  being  an  echo  of  the  Apostle's  own 
words  in  Rom.  xi.  13  —  iyio  kQvMV  aTocrToAo?. 

''  The  writer  here  supposes  that  St.  Paul  was  sunk  for  three  days 
and  three  nights  in  the  sea  —  a  mistaken  inference  from  2  Cor.  xi.  25. 
The  construction  of  the  very  long  sentence  which  soon  follows  is 
very  confused,  and  has  not  been  rigidly  followed  in  our  translation. 


LETTERS    OF    SULPITIUS    SEVERUS  (Undoubted). 


19 


by  a  most  dangerous  calamity,  he  came  fortli  a 
conqueror.  But  let  no  one  wonder  that  the 
incident  referred  to  was  omitted  by  me  in  that 
treatise  which  I  wrote  concerning  his  life,  since 
in  that  very  work  I  openly  acknowledged  that  I 
had  not  embraced  all  his  acts ;  and  that  for  the 
good  reason  that,  if  I  had  been  minded  to  nar- 
rate them  all,  I  must  have  presented  an  enor- 
mous volume  to  my  readers.  And  indeed,  his 
achievments  were  not  of  so  limited  a  number 
that  they  could  all  be  comprehended  in  a  book. 
Nevertheless,  I  shall  not  leave  this  incident, 
about  which  a  question  has  arisen,  to  remain  in 
obscurity,  but  shall  relate  the  whole  affair  as  it 
occurred,  lest  I  should  appear  perchance  to  have 
intentionally  passed  over  that  which  might  be 
put  forward  in  calumniation  of  the  saintly  man. 
Martin  having,  about  the  middle  of  winter, 
come  to  a  certain  parish,^  according  to  the  usual 
custom  for  the  bishops  to  visit  the  churches  in 
the  diocese,  the  clerics  had  prepared  an  abode 
for  him  in  the  private '^  part  of  the  church,  and 
had  kindled  a  large  fire  beneath  the  floor  which 
was  decayed  and  very  thin.'^  They  also  erected 
for  him  a  couch  consisting  of  a  large  amount  of 
straw.  Then,  when  Martin  betook  himself  to 
rest,  he  was  annoyed  with  the  softness  of  the  too 
luxurious  bed,  inasmuch  as  he  had  been  accus- 
tomed to  lie  on  the  bare  ground  with  only  a  piece 
of  sackcloth  stretched  over  him.  Accordingly, 
influenced  by  the  injury  which  had,  as  it  were, 
been  done  him,  he  threw  aside  the  whole  of  the 
straw.  Now,  it  so  happened  that  part  of  the  straw 
which  he  had  thus  removed  fell  upon  the  stove. 
He  himself,  in  the  meantime,  rested,  as  was  his 
wont,  upon  the  bare  ground,  tired  out  by  his 
long  journey.  About  midnight,  the  fire  bursting 
up  through  the  stove  which,  as  I  have  said,  was 
far  from  sound,  laid  hold  of  the  dry  straw. 
Mardn,  being  wakened  out  of  sleep  by  this 
unexpected  occurrence,  and  being  prevented  by 
the  pressing  danger,  but  chiefly,  as  he  afterwards 
related,  by  the  snares  and  urgency  of  the  devil, 
was  longer  than  he  ought  to  have  been  in  having 
recourse  to  the  aid  of  prayer.  For,  desiring  to 
get  outside,  he  struggled  long  and  laboriously 
with  the  bolt  by  which  he  had  secured  the  door. 
Ere  long  he  perceived  that  he  was  surrounded 
by  a  fearful  conflagration  ;  and  the  fire  had  even 
laid  hold  of  the  garment  with  which  he  was 
clothed.  At  length  recovering  his  habitual  con- 
viction that  his  safety  lay  not  in  flight,  but  in  the 
Lord,  and  seizing  the  shield  of  faith  and  prayer, 


^  "ad  dioecesim  quandam":  it  seems  certain  that  diocesis  has 
here  the  meaning  of   "  parish." 

'  "in  secretario  ecclesiae":  it  is  very  difficult  tcf  sav  what  is 
here  meant  by  "  secretarium."  It  appears  from  Dial.  II.  i,  that 
there  might  be  two  or  more  secreiaria  in  one  church. 

*  "  pavimento":  this  word  usually  means  "  a  floor,"  or  "  pave- 
ment," but  some  take  it  here  to  be  the  same  as  foriiax.  This, 
however,  can  hardly  be  the  case;  and  the  meaning  probably  is  that 
the  church  was  heated,  as  the  baths  were,  by  means  of  a  hypo- 
caustum,  or  flue  running  below  the  pavement. 


committing  himself  entirely  to  the  Lord,  he  lay 
down  in  the  midst  of  the  flames.  Then  truly, 
the  fire  having  been  removed  by  divine  interpo- 
sition, he  continued  to  pray  amid  a  circle  of 
flames  that  did  him  no  harm.  But  the  monks, 
who  were  before  the  door,  hearing  the  sound  of 
the  crackling  and  struggling  fire,  broke  open  the 
barred  door ;  and,  the  fire  being  extinguished, 
they  brought  forth  Martin  from  the  midst  of  the 
flames,  all  the  time  supposing  that  he  must  ere 
then  have  been  burnt  to  ashes  by  a  fire  of  so 
long  continuance.  Now,  as  the  Lord  is  my 
witness,  he  himself  related  to  me,  and  not  with- 
out groans,  confessed  that  he  was  in  this  matter 
beguiled  by  the  arts  of  the  devil ;  in  that,  when 
roused  from  sleep,  he  did  not  take  the  wise 
course  of  repelling  the  danger  by  means  of  faith 
and  prayer.  He  also  added  that  the  flames 
raged  around  him  all  the  time  that,  with  a  dis- 
tempered mind,  he  strove  to  throw  open  the 
door.  But  he  declared  that  as  soon  as  he  again 
sought  assistance  from  the  cross,  and  tried  the 
weapons  of  prayer,  the  central  flames  gave  way, 
and  that  he  then  felt  them  shedding  a  dewy 
refreshment  over  him,  after  having  just  experi- 
enced how  cruelly  they  burned  him.  Consider- 
ing all  which,  let  every  one  who  reads  this  letter 
understand  that  Martin  was  indeed  tried  by 
that  danger,  but  passed  through  it  with  true 
acceptance.'' 

LETTER    IL 

TO   THE    DEACON    AURELIUS. 

Sulpitius  has  a  Vision  of  St.  Martin. 

SuLPiTius  Severus  to  Aurelius  the  Deacon 
sendeth  greeting,  — ^ 

After  you  had  departed  from  me  in  the  room- 
ing, I  was  sitting  alone  in  my  cell  ;  and  there 
occurred  to.  me,  as  often  happens,  that  hope  of 
the  future  which  I  cherish,  along  with  a  weari- 
ness of  the  present  world,  a  terror  of  judgment, 
a  fear  of  punishment,  and,  as  a  consequence,  in- 
deed as  the  source  from  which  the  whole  train  of 
thought  had  flowed,  a  remembrance  of  my  sins, 
which  had  rendered  me  worn  and  miserable. 
Then,  after  I  had  placed  on  my  couch  my  limbs 
fatigued  with  the  anguish  of  my  mind,  sleep  crept 
upon  me,  as  frequently  happens  from  melan- 
choly ;  and  such  sleep,  as  it  is  always  somewhat 
light  and  uncertain  in  the  morning  hours,  so  it 
pervaded  my  members  only  in  a  hovering  and 
doubtful  manner.  Thus  it  happens,  what  does 
not  occur  in  a  different  kind  of  slumber,  that 
one  can  feel  he  is  dreaming  while  almost  awake. 
In  these  circumstances,  I  seemed  suddenly  to 
see  St.  Martin  appear  to  me  in  the  character  of 

"  Halm  here  inserts  "  vere." 

1  This  salutation  is  omitted  by  Halm. 


20 


LETTERS  OF  SULPITIUS  SEVERUS  (Undoubted). 


a  bishop,  clothed  in  a  white  robe,  with  a  coun- 
tenance as  of  fire,  \vith  eyes  like  stars,  and  with 
purple  hair.-  He  thus  appeared  to  me  with 
that  aspect  and  form  of  body  which  I  had 
known,  so  that  I  find  it  almost  difficult  to  say 
what  I  mean  —  he  could  not  be  steadfastly  be- 
held, though  he  could  be  clearly  recognized. 
Well,  directing  a  gentle  smile  towards  me,  he 
held  out  in  his  right  hand  the  small  treatise 
which  I  had  written  concerning  his  life.  I,  for 
my  part,  embraced  his  sacred  knees,  and  begged 
for  his  blessing  according  to  custom.  Upon 
this,  I  felt  his  hand  placed  on  my  head  with  the 
sweetest  touch,  while,  amid  the  solemn  words  of 
benediction,  he  repeated  again  and  again  the 
name  of  the  cross  so  famihar  to  his  lips.  Ere 
long,  while  my  eyes  were  earnestly  fixed  upon 
him,  and  when  I  could  not  satisfy  myself  with 
gazing  upon  his  countenance,  he  was  suddenly 
taken  away  from  me  and  raised  on  high.  At 
last,  having  passed  through  the  vast  expanse  of 
the  air,  while  my  straining  eyes  followed  him 
ascending  in  a  rapidly  moving  cloud,  he  could 
no  longer  be  seen  by  me  gazing  after  him.  And 
not  long  after,  I  saw  the  holy  presbyter  Clarus, 
a  disciple  of  Martin's  who  had  lately  died,  as- 
cend in  the  same  way  as  I  had  seen  his  master. 
I,  impudently  desiring  to  follow,  while  I  aim  at 
and  strive  after  such  lofty  ste])s,  suddenly  wake 
up  ;  and,  being  roused  from  sleep,  I  had  begun 
to  rejoice  over  the  vision,  when  a  boy,  a  servant 
in  the  familv,  enters  to  me  with  a  countenance 
sadder  than  is  usual  with  one  who  gives  utter- 
ance to  his  grief  in  words.  "What,"  I  enquire 
of  him,  "  do  you  wish  to  tell  me  with  so  melan- 
choly an  aspect?  "  "Two  monks,"  he  replied, 
"  have  just  been  here  from  Tours,  and  they  have 
brought  word  that  Martin  is  dead."  I  confess 
that  I  was  cut  to  the  heart ;  and  bursting  into 
tears,  I  wept  most  abundantly.  Nay,  even  now, 
as  I  write  these  things  to  you,  brother,  my  tears 
are  flowing,  and  I  find  no  consolation  for  my  all 
but  unbearable  sorrow.  And  I  should  wish  you, 
when  this  news  reaches  you,  to  be  a  partaker  in  my 
grief,  as  you  were  a  sharer  with  me  in  his  love. 
Come  then,  I  beg  of  you,  to  me  without  delay, 
that  we  may  mourn  in  common  him  whom  in 
common  we  love.  And  yet  I  am  well  aware 
that  such  a  man  ought  not  to  be  mourned  over, 
to  whom,  after  his  victory  and  triumph  over  the 
world,  there  has  now  at  last  been  given  the 
crown  of  righteousness.  Nevertheless,  I  cannot 
so  command  myself  as  to  keep  from  grieving. 
I  have,  no  doubt,  sent  on  before  me  one  who 
will  plead  my  cause  in  heaven,  but  I  have,  at 
the  same  time,  lost  my  great  source  of  con- 
solation in  this  present  life ;  yet  if  grief  would 
yield  to  the  influence  of  reason,  I  certainly  ought 

'  "  crine  piirpureo "  :   it  is   impossible   to   tell    the   exact  color 
which  is  intended. 


to  rejoice.  For  he  is  now  mingling  among  the 
Apostles  and  Prophets,  and  (with  all  respect  for 
the  saints  on  high  be  it  said)  he  is  second  to 
no  one  in  that  assembly  of  the  righteous  as  I 
firmly  hope,  believe,  and  trust,  being  joined  es- 
pecially to  those  who  washed  their  robes  in  the 
blood  of  the"  Lamb.  He  now  follows  the  Lamb 
as  his  guide,  free  from  all  spot  of  defilement. 
For  although  the  character'*  of  our  times  could 
not  ensure  him  the  honor  of  martyrdom,  yet  he 
will  not  remain  destitute  of  the  glory  of  a  martyr, 
because  both  by  vow  and  virtues  he  was  alike 
able  and  willing  to  be  a  martyr.  But  if  he  had 
been  permitted,  in  the  times  of  Nero  and  of 
Decius,^  to  take  part  in  the  struggle  which  then 
went  on,  I  take  to  witness  the  God  of  heaven 
and  earth  that  he  would  freely  have  submitted® 
to  the  rack  of  torture,  and  readily  surrendered 
himself  to  the  flames  :  yea,  worthy  of  being  com- 
pared to  the  illustrious  Hebrew  youths,  amid  the 
circling  flames,  and  though  in  the  very  midst  of 
the  furnace,  he  would  have  sung  a  hymn  of  the 
Lord.  But  if  perchance  it  had  pleased  the  per- 
secutor to  inflict  upon  him  the  punishment  which 
Isaiah  endured,  he  would  never  have  shown 
himself  inferior  to  the  prophet,  nor  would  have 
shrunk  from  having  his  members  torn  in  pieces 
by  saws  and  swords.  And  if  impious  fury  had 
preferred  to  drive  the  blessed  man  over  precip- 
itous rocks  or  steep  mountains,  I  maintain  that, 
clinging^  to  the  testimony  of  truth  he  would 
willingly  have  fallen.  But  if,  after  the  example 
of  the  teacher  of  the  Gentiles,*  as  indeed  often 
happened,  he  had  been  included  among  other 
victims  who  were  condemned®  to  die  by  the 
sword,  he  would  have  been  foremost  to  urge  on 
the  executioner  to  his  work  that  he  might  obtain 
the  crown  ^"  of  blood.  And,  in  truth,  far  from 
shrinking  from  a  confession  of  the  Lord,  in  the 
face  of  all  those  penalties  and  punishments, 
which  frequently  prove  too  much  for  human  in- 
firmity, he  would  have  stood  so  immovable  as  to 
have  smiled  with  joy  and  gladness  over  the  suf- 
ferings and  torments  he  endured,  whatever 
might  have  been  the  tortures  inflicted  upon 
him.  But  although  he  did  in  fact  suffer  none 
of  these  things,  yet  he  fully  attained  to  the 
honor  of  martyrdom  without  shedding  his  blood. 
For  what  agonies  of  human  sufferings  did  he  not 
endure  in  behalf  of  the  hope  of  eternal  fife,  in 
hunger,  in  watchings,  in  nakedness,  in  fastings, 

'  Compare  Rev.  vii.  14. 

*  As  being  peaceful,  the  imperial  power  having  now  passed  into 
the  hands  of  Christians. 

''  Roman  emperor,  a.d.  249-251 ;  his  full  name  was  C.  Messius 
Quinlus  Trajanus  Decius. 

"  "  equilwum  ascendisset " :  lit.  "would  have  mounted  the 
wooden  horse,"  an  instrument  of  torture. 

'  Some  read  "  perhibeo  confisiis  testimonium  veritati,"  and 
others  "  veritatis";  in  either  case,  the  construction  is  confused  and 
irregular. 

"  St.  Paul  is  referred  to:  tradition  bears  that  he  was  beheaded. 

*  A  late  use  of  the  verb  depuinre. 

'0  i.e.  martyrdom,  "  palmam  sanguinis." 


LETTERS    OF    SULPITIUS    SEVERUS  (Undoubted). 


21 


in  reproachings  of  the  malignant,  in  persecutions 
of  the  wicked,  in  care  for  the  weak,  in  anxiety  for 
those  in  danger?  For  who  ever  suffered  but  Mar- 
tin suffered  along  with  him?  Who  was  made  to 
stumble  and  he  burnt  not  ?  Who  perished,  and  he 
did  not  mourn  deeply  ?  Besides  those  daily  strug- 
gles which  he  carried  on  against  the  various  con- 
flicts with  human  and  spiritual  wickedness,  while 
invariably,  as  he  was  assailed  with  divers  temp- 
tations, there  prevailed  in  his  case  fortitude  in 
conquering,  patience  in  waiting,  and  placidity  in 
enduring.  O  man,  truly  indescribable  in  piety, 
mercy,  love,  which  daily  grows  cold  even  in 
holy  men  through  the  coldness  of  the  world,  but 
which  in  his  case  increased  onwards  to  the  end, 
an:l  endured  from  day  to  day  !  I,  for  my  part, 
had  the  happiness  of  enjoying  this  grace  in  him 
even  in  an  eminent  degree,  for  he  loved  me  in  a 
special  manner,  though  I  was  far  from  meriting 
such  affection.  And,  on  the  remembrance,  yet 
again  my  tears  burst  forth,  while  groans  issue 
from  the  bottom  of  my  heart.  In  what  man 
shall  I  for  the  future  find  such  repose  for  my 
spirit  as  I  did  in  him  ?  and  in  whose  love  shall 
I  enjoy  like  consolation?  Wretched  being  that 
I  am,  sunk  in  affliction,  can  I  ever,  if  life  be 
spared  me,  cease  to  lament  that  I  have  sur- 
vived Martin  ?  Shall  there  in  future  be  to  me 
any  pleasure  in  life,  or  any  day  or  hour  free 
from  tears  ;  or  can  I  ever,  my  dearest  brother, 
make  mention  of  him  to  you  without  lamenta- 
tion? And  yet,  in  conversing  with  you,  can  I 
ever  talk  of  any  other  subject  than  him?  But 
why  do  I  stir  you  up  to  tears  and  lamentations? 
Sd  I  now  desire  you  to  be  comforted,  although 
I  am  unable  to  console  myself.  He  will  not  be 
absent  from  us  ;  believe  me,  he  will  never,  never 
forsake  us,  but  will  be  present  with  us  as  we 
discourse  regarding  him,  and  will  be  near  to  us 
as  we  pray ;  and  the  happiness  which  he  has 
even  to-day  deigned  to  bestow,  even  that  of 
seeing  him  in  his  glory,  he  will  frequently  in 
future  afford  ;  and  he  will  protect  us,  as  he  did 
but  a  little  while  ago,  with  his  unceasing  bene- 
diction. Then  again,  according  to  the  arrange- 
ment of  the  vision,  he  showed  that  heaven  was 
open  to  those  following  him,  and  taught  us  to 
what  we  ought  to  follow  him  ;  he  instructed  us 
to  what  objects  our  hope  should  be  directed, 
and  to  what  attainment  our  mind  should  be 
turned.  Yet,  my  brother,  what  is  to  be  done  ? 
For,  as  I  am  myself  well  aware,  I  shall  never  be 
able  to  climb  that  difficult  ascent,  and  penetrate 
into  those  blessed  regions.  To  such  a  degree 
does  a  miserable  burden  press  me  down ;  and 
while  I  cannot,  through  the  load  of  sin  which 
overwhelms  me,  secure  an  ascent  to  heaven,  the 
cruel  pressure  rather  sinks  me  in  my  misery  to 
the  place  of  despair."     Nevertheless,  hope  re- 

'  ^1  '■  in  tartara." 


mains,  one  last  and  solitary  hope,  that,  what  I 
cannot  obtain  of  myself,  I  may,  at  any  rate,  be 
thought  worthy  of,  through  the  prayers  of  Martin 
in  my  behalf.  But  why,  brother,  should  I  longer 
occupy  your  time  with  a  letter  which  has  turned 
out  so  garrulous,  and  thus  delay  you  from  coming 
to  me  ?  At  the  same  time,  my  page  being  now 
filled,  can  admit  no  more.  This,  however,  was 
my  object  in  prolonging  my  discourse  to  a  some- 
what undue  extent,  that,  since  this  letter  con- 
veys to  you  a  message  of  sorrow,  it  might  also 
furnish  you  with  consolation,  through  my  sort  of 
friendly  conversation  with  you. 


LETTER    in. 

TO    BASSULA,    HIS    MOTHER-IN-LAW. 

How  St.  Martin  passed  from  this  Life  to  Life 
Eternal. 

SuLPiTius  Severus  to  Bassula,  his  venerable 
parent,  sendeth  greeting. 

If  it  were  lawful  that  parents  should  be  sum- 
moned to  court  by  their  children,  clearly  I  might 
drag  you  with  a  righteous  thong ^  before  the  tri- 
bunal of  the  praetor,  on  a  charge  of  robbery  and 
plunder.  For  why  should  I  not  complain  of  the 
injury  which  I  have  suffered  at  your  hands? 
You  have  left  me  no  little  bit  of  writing  at  home, 
no  book,  not  even  a  letter  —  to  such  a  degree 
do  you  play  the  thief  with  all  such  things  and 
publish  them  to  the  world.  If  I  write  anything 
in  familiar  style  to  a  friend  ;  if,  as  I  amuse  my- 
self I  dictate  anything  with  the  wish  at  the  same 
time  that  it  should  be  kept  private,  all  such  things 
seem  to  reach  you  almost  before  they  have  been 
written  or  spoken.  Surely  you  have  my  secre- 
taries" in  your'^  debt,  since  through  them  any 
trifles  I  compose  are  made  known  to  you.  And 
yet  I  cannot  be  moved  with  anger  against  them 
if  they  really  obey  you,  and  have  invaded  my 
rights  under  the  special  influence  of  your  gener- 
osity to  them,  and  ever  bear  in  mind  that  they 
belong  to  you  rather  than  to  me.  Yes,  thou 
alone  art  the  culprit  —  thou  alone  art  to  blame — • 
inasmuch  as  you  both  lay  your  snares  for  me, 
and  cajole  them  with  your  trickery,  so  that  with- 
out making  any^  selection,  pieces  written  famil- 
iarly, or  let  out  of  hand  without  care,  are  sent 
to  thee  quite  unelaborated  and  unpolished.  For, 
to  say  nothing  about  other  writings,  I  beg  to  ask 
how  that  letter  could  reach  you  so  speedily,  which 
I  recently  wrote  to  Aurelius  the  Deacon.     For, 

'  Instead  of  "  justo  loro,"  Halm  reads,  "  jiisto  dolore,"  i.e.  "  with 
just  resentment." 

^  "  notaries  ":    shorthand  writers,  who  wrote  from  dictation. 

^  Halm  here  reads  "  oharratos,"  wiih  what  sense  I  know  not: 
the  reading  "  objeratos,"  followed  in  the  text  seems  to  yield  a  very 
good  meaning. 

•*  The  reading  "  sine  dilectu  uUo,"  adopted  by  Halm,  seems  pref- 
erable to  the  old  reading,  "  sine  delicto  uUo." 


22 


LETTERS    OF    SULPITIUS    SEVERUS  (Undoubted). 


as  I  was  situated  at  Toulouse/  while  you  were 
dwelling  at  Treves,  and  were  so  far  distant  from 
your  native  land,  owing  to  the  anxiety  felt  on 
account  of  your  son,  what  opportunity,  I  should 
like  to  know,  did  you  avail  yourself  of,  to  get 
hold  of  that  familiar^  epistle?  For  I  have  re- 
ceived your  letter  in  which  you  write  that  I 
ought  in  the  same  epistle  in  which  I  made  men- 
tion of  the  death  of  our  master,  Martin,  to  have 
described  the  manner  in  which  that  saintly  man 
left  this  world.  As  if,  indeed,  I  had  either  given 
forth  that  epistle  with  the  view  of  its  being  read 
by  any  other  except  him  to  whom  it  purported 
to  be  sent ;  or  as  if  I  were  fated  to  undertake 
so  great  a  work  as  that  all  things  which  should 
be  known  respecting  Martin  are  to  be  made 
public  through  me  particularly  as  the  writer. 
Therefore,  if  you  desire  to  learn  anything  con- 
cerning the  end  of  the  saintly  bishop,  you  should 
direct  your  enquiries  rather  to  those  who  were 
present  when  his  death  occurred.  I  for  my  part 
have  resolved  to  write  nothing  to  you  lest  you 
publish  me'^  everywhere.  Nevertheless  if  you 
pledge  your  word  that  you  will  read  to  no  one 
what  I  send  you,  I  shall  satisfy  your  desire  in  a 
{qw  words.  Accordingly  I  shall  communicate^ 
to  you  the  following  particulars  which  are  com- 
prised within  my  own  knowledge. 

I  have  to  state,  then,  that  Martin  was  aware 
of  the  period  of  his  own  death  long  before  it 
occurred,  and  told  the  brethren  that  his  depart- 
ure from  the  body  was  at  hand.  In  the  mean- 
time, a  reason  sprang  up  which  led  him  to  visit 
the  church  at  Condate.'-*  For,  as  the  clerics  of 
that  church  were  at  variance  among  themselves, 
Martin,  wishing  to  restore  peace,  although  he 
well  knew  that  the  end  of  his  own  days  was  at 
hand,  yet  he  did  not  shrink  from  undertaking 
the  journey,  with  such  an  object  in  view.  He 
did,  in  fact,  think  that  this  would  be  an  excellent 
crown  to  set  upon  his  virtues,  if  he  should  leave 
behind  him  peace  restored  to  a  church.  Thus, 
then,  having  set  out  with  that  very  numerous 
and  holy  crowd  of  disciples  who  usually  accom- 
panied him,  he  perceives  in  a  river  a  number  of 
water-fowl  busy  in  capturing  fishes,  and  notices 
that  a  voracious  appetite  was  urging  them  on  to 
frequent  seizures  of  their  prey.  "  This,"  ex- 
claimed he,  "  is  a  picture  of  how  the  demons 
act :   they  lie  in  wait  for  the  unwary  and  capture 


^  The  identity  of  Tolosa,  mentioned  in  the  text  with  the  modern 
Toulouse,  is  uncertain. 

*  Of  course,  this  is  all  jocular,  and  shows  the  best  relations  as 
existing  between  Sulpitius  and  his  mother-in-law. 

'  There  is  clearly  some  affectation  in  the  horror  which  Sulpitius 
expresses  in  this  and  other  passages  at  the  thought  of  his  writings 
being  published.  It  is  obvious  that  he  derived  gratification  from  the 
fact  of  their  being  widely  read. 

'  "  prsstabo  his  participem  "  :  the  construction  is  peculiar,  but 
the  meaning  is  obvious. 

"  There  were  several  towns  of  this  name  in  Gaul.  The  one 
probably  here  referred  to  was  on  the  road  from  Augustodunum 
(Autun)  to  Paris.  It  corresponds  to  the  modern  Cosne,  at  the  junc- 
tion of  the  stream  Nonain  with  the  river  Loire. 


them  before  they  know  it :  they  devour  their 
victims  when  taken,  and  they  can  never  be  satis- 
fied with  what  they  have  devoured."  Then 
Martin,  with  a  miraculous  ^"  power  in  his  words, 
commands  the  birds  to  leave  the  pool  in  which 
they  were  swimming,  and  to  betake  themselves 
to  dry  and  desert  regions  ;  using  with  respect  to 
those  birds  that  very  same  authority  with  which 
he  had  been  accustomed  to  put  demons  to 
flight,  x^ccordingly,  gathering  themselves  to- 
gether, all  those  birds  formed  a  single  body,  and 
leaving  the  river,  they  made  for  the  mountains 
and  woods,  to  no  small  wonder  of  many  who 
perceived  such  power  in  Martin  that  he  could 
even  rule  the  birds.  Having  then  delayed  some 
time  in  that  village  or  church  to  which  he  had 
gone,  and  peace  having  been  restored  among 
the  clerics,  when  he  was  now  meditating  a  re- 
turn to  his  monastery,  he  began  suddenly  to 
fail  in  bodily  strength,  and,  assembling  the 
brethren,  he  told  them  that  he  was  on  the  point 
of  dissolution.  Then  indeed,  sorrow  and  grief 
took  possession  of  all,  and  there  was  but  one 
voice  of  them  lamenting,  and  saying  :  "  ^^'hy, 
dear  father,  will  you  leave  us?  Or  to  whom 
can  you  commit  us  in  our  desolation?  Fierce 
wolves  will  speedily  attack  thy  flock,  and  who, 
when  the  shepherd  has  been  smitten,  will  save 
us  "  from  their  bites  ?  We  know,  indeed,  that 
you  desire  to  be  with  Christ ;  but  thy  reward 
above  is  safe,  and  will  not  be  diminished  by 
being  delayed  ;  rather  have  pity  upon  us,  whom 
you  are  leaving  desolate."  Then  Martin,  affected 
by  these  lamentations,  as  he  was  always,  in  truth, 
full  ^"  of  compassion,  is  said  to  have  burst  into 
tears  ;  and,  turning  to  the  Lord,  he  replied  to 
those  weeping  round  him  only  in  the  following 
words,  "  O  Lord,  if  I  am  still  necessary  to 
thy  people,  I  do  not  shrink  from  toil :  thy  will 
be  done."  Thus  hovering  as  he  did  between  ^^ 
desire  and  love,  he  almost  doubted  which  he 
preferred  ;  for  he  neither  wished  to  leave  us, 
nor  to  be  longer  separated  from  Christ.  How- 
ever, he  placed  no  weight  upon  his  own  wishes, 
nor  reserved  anything  to  his  own  will,  but  com- 
mitted himself  wholly  to  the  will  and  power  of 
the  Lord,  Do  you  not  think  you  hear  him 
speaking  in  the  following  few  words  which  I  re- 
peat ?  "  Terrible,  indeed,  Lord,  is  the  struggle 
of  bodily  warfare,  and  surely  it  is  now  enough 
that  I  have  continued  the  fight  till  now;  but,  if 
thou  dost  command  me  still  to  persevere  in  the 
same  toil  for  the  defense  ^*  of  thy  flock,  I  do  not 
refuse,  nor  do  I  plead  against  such  an  appoint- 

'"  "  potenti  virtute  verborum":  Halm  reads  simply  "  potenli 
verbo." 

''  A  singular  and  obviously  corrupt  reading  is  "  quis  cos  a 
morsibus  nostris  prohibebit  ?"  Halm's  reading  has  been  followed 
in  the  text. 

'-  Lit.  "  as  he  always  flowed  with  bowels  of  mercy  in  the  Lord." 

"  "  spes  "  seems  here  to  mean  "  longing  of  heart." 

'*  "  pro  castris  tuorum." 


LETTERS  OF  SULPITIUS  SEVERUS  (Undoubted). 


23 


ment  my  declining  years.  Wholly  given  to 
thee,  I  will  fulfill  whatever  duties  thou  dost  as- 
sign me,  and  I  will  serve  under  thy  standard  as 
long  as  thou  shalt  prescribe.  Yea,  although  re- 
lease is  sweet  to  an  old  man  after  lengthened 
toil,  yet  my  mind  is  a  conqueror  over  my  years, 
and  I  have  no  desire  ^  to  yield  to  old  age.  But 
if  now  thou  art  merciful  to  my  many  years, 
good,  O  Lord,  is  thy  will  to  me  ;  and  thou  thy- 
self wilt  guard  over  those  for  whose  safety  I  fear." 
O  man,  whom  no  language  can  describe,  uncon- 
quered  by  toil,  and  unconquerable  even  by 
death,  who  didst  show  no  personal  preference 
for  either  alternative,  and  who  didst  neither  fear 
to  die  nor  refuse  to  live  !  Accordingly,  though 
he  was  for  some  days  under  the  influence  of  a 
strong  fever,  he  nevertheless  did  not  abandon 
the  work  of  God.  Continuing  in  supplications 
and  watchings  through  whole  nights,  he  com- 
pelled his  worn-out  limbs  to  do  serv^ice  to  his 
spirit  as  he  lay  on  his  glorious '"  couch  upon 
sackcloth  and  ashes.  And  when  his  disciples 
begged  of  him  that  at  least  he  should  allow 
some  common  straw  to  be  placed  beneath  him, 
he  replied  :  "  It  is  not  fitting  that  a  Christian 
should  die  except  among  ashes  ;  and  I  have 
sinned  if  I  leave  you  a  different  example." 
However,  with  his  hands  and  eyes  steadfastly 
directed  towards  heaven,  he  never  released  his 
unconquerable  spirit  from  prayer.  And  on 
being  asked  by  the  presbyters  who  had  then 
gathered  round  him,  to  relieve  his  body  a  little 
by  a  change  of  side,  he  exclaimed  :  "  Allow  me, 
dear  brother,  to  fix  my  looks  rather  on  heaven 
than  on  earth,  so  that  my  spirit  which  is  just 
about  to  depart  on  its  own  journey  may  be  di- 
rected towards  the  Lord."  Having  spoken 
these  words,  he  saw  the  devil  standing  close  at 
hand,  and  exclaimed  :  "  Why  do  you  stand  here, 
thou  bloodv  monster?  Thou  shalt  find  nothing 
in  me,  thou  deadly  one  :  Abraham's  bosom  is 
about  to  receive  me." 

As  he  uttered  these  words,  his  spirit  fled  ;  and 
those  who  were  there  present  have  testified  to 
us  that  they  saw  his  face  as  if  it  had  been  the 
face  ''  of  an  angel.  His  limbs  too  appeared  white 
as  snow,  so  that  people  exclaimed,  "  Who  would 
ever  believe  that  man  to  be  clothed  in  sackcloth, 
or  who  would  imagine  that  he  was  enveloped 
with  ashes?"  For  even  then  he  presented  such 
an  appearance,  as  if  he  had  been  manifested  in 


15  Or,  "  I  am  not  one  to  yield,"  nesci»s  cedere. 

i"  "  nobili  illo  strato  suo";  tiobilis  in  one  sense,  though  so 
humble  in  another. 

"  There  is  a  great  variety  of  readings  here;  Halm  has  been 
followed  in  the  text. 


the  glory  of  the  future  resurrection,  and  with 
the  nature  of  a  body  which  had  been  changed. 
But  it  is  hardly  credible  what  a  multitude  of 
human  beings  assembled  at  the  performance  of 
his  funeral  rites  :  the  whole  city  poured  forth 
to  meet  his  body ;  all  the  inhabitants  of  the  dis- 
trict and  villages,  along  with  many  also  from  the 
neighboring  cities,  attended.  O  how  great  was 
the  grief  of  all  !  how  deep  the  lamentations  in 
particular  of  the  sorrowing  monks  !  They  are 
said  to  have  assembled  on  that  day  almost  to 
the  number  of  two  thousand,  —  a  special  glory 
of  Martin,  —  through  his  example  so  numerous 
plants  had  sprung  up  for  the  service  of  the  Lord. 
Undoubtedly  the  shepherd  was  then  driving  his 
own  flocks  before  him  —  the  pale  crowds  of  that 
saintly  multitude  —  bands  arrayed  in  cloaks, 
either  old  men  whose  life-labor  was  finished,  or 
young  soldiers  who  had  just  taken  the  oath  of 
allegiance  to  Christ.  Then,  too,  there  was  the 
choir  of  virgins,  abstaining  out  of  modesty  from 
weeping ;  and  with  what  holy  joy  did  they  con- 
ceal the  fact  of  their  affliction  !  No  doubt  faith 
would  prevent  the  shedding  of  tears,  yet  affec- 
tion forced  out  groans.  For  there  was  as  sacred 
an  exultation  over  the  glory  to  which  he  had 
attained,  as  there  was  a  pious  sorrow  on  account 
of  his  death.  One  would  have  been  inclined  to 
pardon  those  who  wept,  as  well  as  to  congratu- 
late those  who  rejoiced,  while  each  single  per- 
son preferred  that  he  himself  should  grieve,  but 
that  another  should  rejoice.  Thus  then  this 
multitude,  singing  hymns  of  heaven,  attended 
the  body  of  the  sainted  man  onwards  to  the 
place  of  sepulture.  Let  there  be  compared  with 
this  spectacle,  I  will  not  say  the  worldly  ^^  pomp 
of  a  funeral,  but  even  of  a  triumph  ;  and  what 
can  be  reckoned  similar  to  the  obsequies  of 
Martin  ?  Let  your  worldly  great  men  lead  before 
their  chariots  captives  with  their  hands  bound 
behind  their  backs.  Those  accompanied  the  body 
of  Martin  who,  under  his  guidance,  had  overcome 
the  world.  Let  madness  honor  these  earthly 
warriors  with  the  united  praises  of  nations. 
Martin  is  praised  with  the  divine  psalms,  Martin 
is  honored  in  heavenly  hymns.  Those  worldly 
men,  after  their  triumphs  here  are  over,  shall  be 
thrust  into  cruel  Tartarus,  while  Martin  is  joy- 
fully received  into  the  bosom  of  Abraham.  Mar- 
tin, poor  and  insignificant  on  earth,  has  a  rich 
entrance  granted  him  into  heaven.  From  that 
blessed  region,  as  I  trust,  he  looks  upon  me,  as 
my  guardian,  while  I  am  writing  these  things, 
and  upon  you  while  you  read  them.^^ 

"*  Or,  "  the  pomp  of  a  worldly  funeral." 

1^  Halm  inserts  this  last  sentence  in  brackets. 


THE    DIALOGUES    OF    SULPITIUS    SEVERUS. 


-o-Oj^OO- 


DIALOGUE   I. 

CONCERNING  THE  VIRTUES  OF  THE  MONKS   OF  THE 

EAST. 

CHAPTER    I. 

When  I  and  a  Gallic  friend  had  assembled  in 
one  place,  this  Gaul  being  a  man  very  dear  to 
me,  both  on  account  of  his  remembrance  of 
Martin  (for  he  had  been  one  of  his  disciples), 
and  on  account  of  his  own  merits,  my  friend 
Postumianus  joined  us.  He  had  just,  on  my 
account,  returned  from  the  East,  to  which,  leav- 
ing his  native  country,  he  had  gone  three  years 
before.  Having  embraced  this  most  affection- 
ate friend,  and  kissed  both  his  knees  and  his 
feet,  we  were  for  a  moment  or  two,  as  it  were, 
astounded  ;  and,  shedding  mutual  tears  of  joy, 
we  walked  about  a  good  deal.  But  by  and  by 
we  sat  down  on  our  garments  of  sackcloth  laid 
upon  the  ground.  Then  Postumianus,  directing 
his  looks  towards  me  is  the  first  to  speak,  and 
says,  — 

"  When  I  was  in  the  remote  parts  of  Egypt,  I 
felt  a  desire  to  go  on  as  far  as  the  sea.  I  there 
met  with  a  merchant  vessel,  which  was  ready  to 
set  sail  with  the  view  of  making  for  Narbonne.^ 
The  same  night  you  seemed  in  a  dream  to  stand 
beside  me,  and  laying  hold  of  me  with  your 
hand,  to  lead  me  away  that  I  should  go  on 
board  that  ship.  Ere  long,  when  the  dawn 
dispersed  the  darkness,  and  when  I  rose  up  in 
the  place  in  which  I  had  been  resting,  as  I 
revolved  my  dream  in  my  mind,  I  was  suddenly 
seized  with  such  a  longing  after  you,  that  with- 
out delay  I  went  on  board  the  ship.  Landing 
on  the  thirtieth  day  at  Marseilles,  I  came  on 
from  that  and  arrived  here  on  the  tenth  day  — 
so  prosperous  a  voyage  was  granted  to  my  duti- 
ful desire  of  seeing  you.  Do  thou  only,  for 
whose  sake  I  have  sailed  over  so  many  seas,  and 
have  traversed  such  an  extent  of  land,  yield 
yourself  over  to  me  to  be  embraced  and  enjoyed 
apart  from  all  others." 

"  I  truly,"  said  I,  "  while  you  were  still  stay- 

1  Narbona,  more  commonly  called  Narbo  Martius;  the  modern 
Narbonne. 


ing  in  Egypt,  was  ever  holding  fellowship  with 
you  in  my  mind  and  thoughts,  and  affection  for 
you  had  full  possession  of  me  as  I  meditated 
upon  you  day  and  night.  Surely  then,  you  can- 
not imagine  that  I  will  now  fail  for  a  single 
moment  to  gaze  with  delight  upon  you,  as  I 
hang  upon  your  lips.  I  will  listen  to  you,  I  will 
converse  with  you,  while  no  one  at  all  is  admitted 
to  our  retirement,  which  this  remote  cell  of 
mine  furnishes  to  us.  For,  as  I  suppose,  you 
will  not  take  amiss  the  presence  of  this  friend 
of  ours,  the  Gaul,  who,  as  you  perceive,  rejoices 
with  his  whole  heart  over  this  arrival  of  yours, 
even  as  I  do  myself." 

"Quite  right,"  said  Postumianus,  "that  Gaul 
will  certainly  be  retained  in  our  company  ;  who, 
although  I  am  but  little  acquainted  with  him, 
yet  for  this  very  reason  that  he  is  greatly  beloved 
by  you,  cannot  fail  also  to  be  dear  to  me.  This 
must  especially  be  the  case,  since  he  is  of  the 
school  of  Martin ;  nor  will  I  grudge,  as  you 
desire,  to  talk  with  you  in  connected  discourse, 
since  I  came  hither  for  this  very  purpose,  that 
I  should,  even  at  the  risk  of  being  tedious, 
respond  to  the  desire  of  my  dear  Sulpitius  "  — 
and  in  so  speaking  he  affectionately  took  hold 
of  me  with  both  his  hands. 


CHAPTER   n. 

"  Trulv,"  said  I,  "  you  have  clearly  proved 
how  much  a  sincere  love  can  accomj)lish,  inas- 
much as,  for  my  sake,  you  have  traveled  over  so 
many  seas,  and  such  an  extent  of  land,  journey- 
ing, so  to  speak,  from  the  rising  of  the  sun  in 
the  East  to  where  he  sets  in  the  West.  Come, 
then,  because  we  are  here  in  a  retired  spot  by 
ourselves,  and  not  being  otherwise  occupied, 
feel  it  our  duty  to  attend  to  your  discourse, 
corne,  I  pray  thee,  relate  to  us  the  whole  history 
of  your  wanderings.  Tell  us,  if  you  please,  how 
the  faith  of  Christ  is  flourishing  in  the  East ; 
what  peace  the  saints  enjoy ;  what  are  the  cus- 
toms of  the  monks  ;  and  with  what  signs  and 
miracles  Christ  is  working  in  his  servants.  For 
assuredly,  because  in  this  region  of  ours  and 
amid  the  circumstances  in  which  we  are  placed. 


DIALOGUES    OF    SULPITIUS    SEVERUS. 


25 


life  itself  has  become  a  weariness  to  us,  we  shall 
gladly  hear  from  you,  if  life  is  permitted  to 
Christians  even  in  the  desert." 

In  reply  to  these  words,  Postumianus  declares, 
"  I  shall  do  as  I  see  you  desire.  But  I  beg  you 
first  to  tell  me,  whether  all  those  persons  whom 
I  left  here  as  priests,  continue  the  same  as  I 
knew  them  before  taking  my  departure." 

Then  I  exclaim,  "  Forbear,  I  beseech  thee, 
to  make  any  enquiry  on  such  points,  which  you 
either,  I  think,  know  as  well  as  I  do,  or  if  you 
are  ignorant  of  them,  it  is  better  that  you  should 
hear  nothing  regarding  them.  I  cannot,  how- 
ever, help  sa}ing,  that  not  only  are  those,  of 
whom  you  enquire,  no  better  than  they  were 
when  you  knew  them,  but  even  that  one  man, 
who  was  formerly  a  great  friend  of  mine,  and  in 
whose  affection  I  was  wont  to  find  some  conso- 
lation from  the  persecutions  of  the  rest,  has 
shown  himself  more  unkind  towards  me  than  he 
ought  to  have  been.  However,  I  shall  not  say 
anything  harsher  regarding  him,  both  because  I 
once  esteemed  him  as  a  friend,  and  loved  him 
even  when  he  was  deemed  my  enemy.  I  shall 
only  add  that  while  I  was  silently  meditating  on 
these  things  in  my  thoughts,  this  source  of  grief 
deeply  afflicted  me,  that  I  had  almost  lost  the 
friendship  of  one  who  was  both  a  wise  and  a 
religious  man.  But  let  us  turn  away  from  these 
topics  which  are  full  of  sorrow,  and  let  us  rather 
listen  to  you,  according  to  the  promise  which 
you  gave  some  time  ago." 

"  Let  it  be  so,"  exclaimed  Postumianus.  And 
on  his  saying  this,  we  all  kept  silence,  while, 
moving  his  robe  of  sackcloth,  on  which  he  had 
sat  down,  a  little  nearer  me,  he  thus  began. 


CHAPTER   III. 

"Three  years  ago,  Sulpitius,  at  which  time, 
leaving  this  neighborhood,  I  bade  thee  farewell, 
after  setting  sail  from  Narbonne,  on  the  fifth  day 
we  entered  a  port  of  Africa  :  so  prosperous,  by 
the  will  of  God,  had  been  the  voyage.  I  had 
in  my  mind  a  great  desire  to  go  to  Carthage,  to 
visit  those  localities  connected  with  the  saints, 
and,  above  all,  to  worship  at  the  tomb  ^  of  the 
martyr  Cyprian.  On  the  fifth  day  we  returned 
to  the  harbor,  and  launched  forth  into  the  deep. 
Our  destination  was  Alexandria ;  but  as  the 
south  wind  was  against  us,  we  were  almost  driven 
upon  the  Syrtis ;  ^  the  cautious  sailors,  however, 
guarding  against  this,  stopped  the  sh'ip  by  cast- 
ing anchor.     The  continent  of  Africa  then  lay 

^  "  Ad  sepulchnim  Cypriani  martyris  adorare." 
-  This  was  probably  the  Syrtis  Minor,  a  dangerous  sandbank  in 
the  sea  on  the  northern  coast  of  Africa;   it  is  now  known  as  the  Gulf 
of  Cabes.     The  Syrtis  Major  lay  farther  to  the  east,  and  now  bears 
the  lame  of  the  Gulf  of  Sidra. 


before  our  eyes  ;  and,  landing  on  it  in  boats, 
when  we  perceived  that  the  whole  country  round 
was  destitute  of  human  cultivation,  I  penetrated 
farther  inland,  for  the  purpose  of  more  carefully 
exploring  the  locality.  About  three  miles  from 
the  sea-coast,  I  beheld  a  small  hut  in  the  midst 
of  the  sand,  the  roof  of  which,  to  use  the  ex- 
pression ^  of  Sallust,  was  like  the  keel  of  a  ship. 
It  was  close  to'*  the  earth,  and  was  floored  with 
good  strong  boards,  not  because  any  very  heavy 
rains  are  there  feared  (for,  in  fact,  such  a  thing 
as  rain  has  there  never  even  been  heard  of),  but 
because,  such  is  the  strength  of  the  winds  in  that 
district,  that,  if  at  any  time  only  a  little  breath  of 
air  begins  there  to  be  felt,  even  when  the  weather 
is  pretty  mild,  a  greater  wreckage  takes  place  in 
those  lands  than  on  any  sea.  No  plants  are 
there,  and  no  seeds  ever  spring  up,  since,  in  such 
shifting  soil,  the  dry  sand  is  swept  along  with 
every  motion  of  the  winds.  But  where  some 
promontories,  back  from  the  sea,  act  as  a  check 
to  the  winds,  the  soil,  being  somewhat  more 
firm,  produces  here  and  there  some  prickly  grass, 
and  that  furnishes  fair  pasturage  for  sheep.  The 
inhabitants  live  on  milk,  while  those  of  them  that 
are  more  skillful,  or,  so  to  speak,  more  wealthy, 
make  use  of  barley  bread.  That  is  the  only  kind 
of  grain  which  flourishes  there,  for  barley,  by 
the  quickness  of  its  growth  in  that  sort  of  soil, 
generally  escapes  the  destruction  caused  by  the 
fierce  winds.  So  rapid  is  its  growth  that  we  are 
told  it  is  ripe  on  the  thirtieth  day  after  the  sow- 
ing of  the  seed.  But  there  is  no  reason  why 
men  should  settle  there,  except  that  all  are  free 
from  the  payment  of  taxes.  The  sea-coast  of 
the  Cyrenians  is  indeed  the  most  remote,  border- 
ing upon  that  desert  which  lies  between  Egypt 
and  Africa,^  and  through  which  Cato  formerly, 
when  fleeing  from  Caesar,  led  an  army.^ 


CHAPTER    IV. 

1  THEREFORE  bent  my  steps  toward  the  hut 
which  I  had  beheld  from  a  distance.  There  I 
find  an  old  man,  in  a  garment  made  of  skins, 
turning  a  mill  with  his  hand.  He  saluted  and 
received  us  kindly.  We  explain  to  him  that  we 
had  been  forced  to  land  on  that  coast,  and  were 
prevented  by  the  continued  raging  of  the  sea^ 
from  being  able  at  once  to  pursue  our  voyage  ; 
that,  having  made  our  way  on  shore,  we  had 
desired,  as  is  in  keeping  with  ordinary  human 

2  "  jEdificia  Numidarum  agrestium,  quae  mapalia  illi  vocant, 
oblonga,  incurvis  lateribus  tecta,  quasi  navium  carinas  sunt."  — 
Sail.  Jug.  XVni.  8. 

*  The  hut  was  perhaps  built  on  piles  rising  slightly  above  the 
ground. 

°  The  term  Africa  is  here  used  in  its  more  restricted  sense  to 
denote  the  territory  of  Carthage. 

"  This  took  place  in  the  spring  of  the  year  B.C.  47. 

1  "  maris  moUitie.-" 


26 


DIALOGUES    OF   SULPITIUS   SEVERUS. 


nature,  to  become  acquainted  with  the  character 
of  the  locaUty,  and  the  manners  of  the  inhabi- 
tants. We  added  that  we  were  Christians,  and 
that  the  principal  object  of  our  enquiry  was 
whether  there  were  any  Christians  amid  these 
soHtudes.  Then,  indeed,  he,  weeping  for  joy, 
throws  himself  at  our  feet ;  and,  kissing  us  over 
and  over  again,  invites  us  to  prayer,  while, 
spreading  on  the  ground  the  skins  of  sheep,  he 
makes  us  sit  down  upon  them.  He  then  serves 
up  a  breakfast  truly  luxurious,^  consisting  of  the 
half  of  a  barley  cake.  Now,  we  were  four,  while 
he  himself  constituted  the  fifth.  He  also  brought 
in  a  bundle  of  herbs,  of  which  I  forget  the  name, 
but  they  were  like  mint,  were  rich  in  leaves,  and 
yielded  a  taste  like  honey.  We  were  delighted 
with  the  exceedingly  sweet  taste  of  this  plant, 
and  our  hunger  was  fully  satisfied." 

Upon  this  I  smiled,  and  said  to  my  friend  the 
Gaul,  "What,  Gaul,  do  you  think  of  this?  Are 
you  pleased  with  a  bumlle  of  herbs  and  half  a 
barley  cake  as  a  breakfast  for  five  men?" 

Then  he,  being  an  exceedingly  modest  person, 
and  blushing  somewhat,  while  he  takes  my  ^  joke 
in  good  part,  says,  "  You  act,  Sulpitius,  in  a  way 
like  yourself,  for  you  never  miss  any  opportunity 
which  is  offered  you  of  joking  us  on  the  subject  of 
our  fondness  for  eating.  But  it  is  unkind  of  you 
to  try  to  force  us  Gauls  to  live  after  the  fashion 
of  angels  ;  and  yet,  through  my  own  liking  for 
eating,  I  could  believe  that  even  the  angels  are  in 
the  habit  of  eating  ;  for  such  is  my  appetite  that 
I  would  be  afraid  even  singly  to  attack  that  half 
barley  cake.  However,  let  that  man  of  Cyrene 
be  satisfied  with  it,  to  whom  it  is  either  a  matter 
of  necessity  or  nature  always  to  feel  hungry  ;  or, 
again,  let  those  be  content  with  it  from  whom,  I 
suppose,  their  tossing  at  sea  had  taken  away  all 
desire  for  food.  We,  on  the  other  hand,  are  at 
a  distance  from  the  sea ;  and,  as  I  have  often 
testified  to  you,  we  are,  in  one  word,  Gauls.  But 
instead  of  wasting  time  over  such  matters,  let 
our  friend  here  rather  go  on  to  complete  his 
account  of  the  Cyrenian." 


CHAPTER   V. 

"  Assuredly,"  continues  Postumianus,  "  I 
shall  take  care  in  future  not  to  mention  the 
abstinence  of  any  one,  in  case  the  difficult  ex- 
ample should  quite  offend  our  friends  the  Gauls. 
I  had  intended,  however,  to  give  an  account 
also  of  the  dinner  of  that  man  of  Cyrene  —  for 
we  were  seven  days  with  him  —  or  some  of  the 
subsequent  feasts ;  but  these  things  had  better 
be  passed  over,  lest  the  Gaul  should  think  that 


*  "  Prandium  sane   locupletissimum  "  : 
friendly  irony  in  the  words. 

3  "  fatigationein,"  a  late  sense  of  the  word, 


of   course,   there  is  a 


he  was  jeered  at.  However,  on  the  following 
day,  when  some  of  the  natives  had  come  to- 
getlier  to  visit  us,  we  discovered  that  that  host 
of  ours  was  a  Presbyter  —  a  fact  which  he  had 
concealed  from  us  with  the  greatest  care.  We 
then  went  with  him  to  the  church,  which  was 
about  two  miles  distant,  and  was  concealed  from 
our  view  by  an  intervening  mountain.  We 
found  that  it  was  constructed  of  common  and 
worthless  trees,  and  was  not  much  more  impos- 
ing than  the  hut  of  our  host,  in  which  one  could 
not  stand  without  stooping.  On  enquiring  into 
the  customs  of  the  men  of  the  district,  we  found 
that  they  were  not  in  the  habit  of  either  buying 
or  selling  anything.  They  knew  not  the  mean- 
ing of  either  fraud  or  theft.  As  to  gold  and 
silver,  which  mankind  generally  deem  the  most 
desirable  of  all  things,  they  neither  possess  them, 
nor  do  they  desire  to  possess  them.  For  when 
I  offered  that  Presbyter  ten  gold  coins,  he 
refused  them,  declaring,  with  profound  wisdom, 
that  the  church  was  not  benefited  but  rather  ^ 
injured  by  gold.  We  presented  him,  however, 
with  some  pieces  of  clothing. 


CHAPTER  VL 

"  After  he  had  kindly  accepted  our  gifts,  on 
the  sailors  calling  us  back  to  the  sea,  we 
departed ;  and  after  a  favorable  passage,  we 
arrived  at  Alexandria  on  the  seventh  day. 
There  we  found  a  disgraceful  strife  raging  be- 
tween the  bishops  and  monks,  the  cause  or 
occasion  of  which  was  that  the  priests  were 
known  when  assembled  together  often  to  have 
passed  decrees  in  crowded  synods  to  the  effect 
that  no  one  should  read  or  possess  the  books  of 
Origen.  He  was,  no  doubt,  regarded  as  a  most 
able  disputant  on  the  sacred  Scriptures.  But 
the  bishops  maintained  that  there  were  certain 
things  in  his  books  of  an  unsound  character ; 
and  his  supporters,  not  being  bold  enough  to 
defend  these,  rather  took  the  line  of  declaring 
that  they  had  been  inserted  by  the  heretics. 
They  affirmed,  therefore,  that  the  other  portions 
of  his  writings  were  not  to  be  condemned  on 
account  of  those  things  which  justly  fell  under 
censure,  since  the  faith  of  readers  could  easily 
make  a  distinction,  so  that  they  should  not 
follow  what  had  been  forged,  and  yet  should 
keep  hold  of  those  points  which  were  handled 
in  accordance  with  the  Catholic  faith.  They 
remarked  that  there  was  nothing  wonderful  if, 
in  modern  and  recent  writings,  heretical  guile 
had  been  at  work  ;  since  it  had  not  feared  in 
certain  places  to  attack  even  Gospel  truth. 
The  bishops,  struggling  against  these  positions 

'  "  non  instrui,  sed  potius  destrui." 


DIALOGUES    OF   SULPITIUS   SEVERUS. 


,27 


to  the  utmost  extent  of  their  power,  insisted  that 
wliat  was  quite  correct  in  the  writings  of  Origen 
should,  along  with  the  author  himself,  and  even 
his  whole  works,  be  condemned,  because  those 
books  were  more  than  sufficient  which  the 
church  had  received.  They  also  said  that  the 
reading  was  to  be  avoided  of  such  works  as 
would  do  more  harm  to  the  unwise  than  they 
would  benefit  the  wise.  For  my  part,  on  being  led 
by  curiosity  to  investigate  some  portions  of  these^ 
writings,  I  found  very  many  things  which  pleased 
me,  but  some  that  were  to  be  blamed.  I  think 
it  is  clear  that  the  author  himself  really  enter- 
tained these  impious  opinions,'  though  his  de- 
fenders maintain  that  the  passages  have  been 
forged.  I  truly  wonder  that  one  and  the  same 
man  could  have  been  so  different  from  himself 
as  that,  in  the  portion  which  is  approved,  he 
has  no  equal  since  the  times  of  the  Apostles, 
while  in  that  which  is  justly  condemned,  no  one 
can  be  shown  to  have  erred  more  egregiously. 

CHAPTER   VII. 

For  while  many  things  in  his  books  which  were 
extracted  from  them  by  the  bishops  were  read 
to  show  that  they  were  written  in  opposition  to 
the  Catholic  faith,  that  passage  especially  ex- 
cited bad  feeling  against  him,  in  which  we  read 
in  his  published  works  that  the  Lord  Jesus,  as 
he  had  come  in  the  flesh  for  the  redemption 
of  mankind,  and  suffering  upon  the  cross  for  the 
salvation  of  man,  had  tasted  death  to  procure 
eternal  life  for  the  human  race,  so  he  was,  by 
the  same  course  of  suffering,  even  to  render  the 
devil  a  partaker  of  redemption.  He  maintained 
this  on  the  ground  that  such  a  thing  would  be 
in  harmony  with  his  goodness  and  beneficence, 
inasmuch  as  he  who  had  restored  fallen  and 
ruined  man,  would  thus  also  set  free  an  angel 
who  had  previously  fallen.  When  these  and 
other  things  of  a  like  nature  were  brought 
forward  by  the  bishops,  a  tumult  arose  owing 
to  the  zeal  of  the  different  parties ;  and  when 
this  could  not  be  quelled  by  the  authority  of 
the  priests,  the  governor  of  the  city  was  called 
upon  to  regulate  the  discipline  of  the  church  by 
a  perverse  precedent;  and  through  the  terror 
which  he  inspired,  the  brethren  were  dispersed, 
while  the  monks  took  to  flight  in  different  direc- 
tions ;  so  that,  on  the  decrees  being  published, 
they  were  not  permitted  to  find  lasting  accept- 
ance'  in  any  place.  This  fact  influenced  me 
greatly,  that  Hieronymus,  a  man  truly  Catholic 
and  most  skillful  in  the  holy  law,  was  thought  at 
first  to  have  been  a  follower  of  Origen,  yet  now, 
above  most  others,  went  the  length  of  condemn- 
ing the  whole  of  his  writings.     Assuredly,  I  am 

'  "  in  nulla  consistere  sede  sinerentur." 


not  inclined  to  judge  rashly  in  regard  to  any 
one ;  but  even  the  most  learned  men  were  said 
to  hold  different  opinions  in  this  controversy. 
However,  whether  that  opinion  of  Origen  was 
simply  an  error,  as  I  think,  or  whether  it  was  a 
heresy,  as  is  generally  supposed,  it  not  only 
could  not  be  suppressed  by  multitudes  of  cen- 
sures on  the  part  of  the  priests,  but  it  never 
could  have  spread  itself  so  far  and  wide,  had  it 
not  gathered  strength  from  their  contentions. 
Accordingly,  when  I  came  to  Alexandria,  I 
found  that  city  in  a  ferment  from  disturbances 
connected  with  the  matter  in  question.  The 
Bishop,  indeed,  of  that  place  received  me  very 
kindly,  and  in  a  better  spirit  than  I  expected, 
and  even  endeavored  to  retain  me  with  him. 
But  I  was  not  at  all  inclined  to  settle  there, 
where  a  recent  outbreak  of  ill-will  had  resulted 
in  a  destruction  of  the  brethren.  For,  although 
perhaps  it  may  seem  that  they  ought  to  have 
obeyed  the  bishops,  yet  such  a  multitude  of 
persons,  all  living  in  an  open  confession  of 
Christ,  ought  not  for  that  reason  to  have  been 
persecuted,  especially  by  bishops. 


CHAPTER   VHI. 

Accordingly,  setting  out  from  that  place,  I 
made  for  the  town  of  Bethlehem,  which  is  six 
miles  distant  from  Jerusalem,  but  requires  six- 
teen stoppages^  on  the  part  of  one  journeying 
from  Alexandria.  The  presbyter  Jerome"  mles 
the  church  of  this  place  ;  for  it  is  a  parish  of  the 
bishop  who  has  possession  of  Jerusalem.  Hav- 
ing already  in  my  former  journey  become  ac- 
quainted with  Hieronymus,  he  had  easily  brought 
it  about  that  I  with  good  reason  deemed  no  one 
more  worthy  of  my  regard  and  love.  For,  be- 
sides the  merit  due  to  him  on  account  of  his 
faith,  and  the  possession  of  many  virtues,  he  is 
a  man  learned  not  only  in  Latin  and  Greek,  but 
also  Hebrew,  to  such  a  degree  that  no  one  dare 
venture  to  compare  himself  with  him  in  all 
knowledge.  I  shall  indeed  be  surprised  if  he 
is  not  well  known  to  you  also  through  means  of 
the  works  which  he  has  written,  since  he  is,  in 
fact,  read  the  whole  world  over." 

"  Well,"  says  the  Gaul  at  this  point,  "  he  is,  in 
truth,  but  too  well  known  to  us.  For,  some  five 
years  ago,  I  read  a  certain  book  of  his,  in  which 
the  whole  tribe  of  our  monks  is  most  vehemently 
assaulted  and  reviled  by  him.  For  this  reason, 
our  Belgian  friend  is  accustomed  to  be  very 
angry,  because  he  has  said  that  we  are  in  the 
habit  of  cramming  ourselves  even  to  repletion. 
But  I,  for  my  part,  pardon  the  eminent  man  ; 
and  am  of  opinion  that  he  had  made  the  remark 
rather  about  Eastern  than  Western  monks.      For 


1  "  mansionibus.' 


2  Otherwise,  "  Hieronymus.'' 


2S 


DIALOGUES   OF   SULPITIUS   SEVERUS. 


the  love  of  eating  is  gluttony  in  the  case  of  the 
Greeks,  whereas  among  the  Gauls  it  is  owing  to 
the  nature  they  possess." 

Then  exclaimed  I,  "  You  defend  your  nation, 
my  Gallic  friend,  by  means  of  rhetoric ;  but  I 
beg  to  ask  whether  that  book  condemns  only 
this  vice  in  the  case  of  the  monks?" 

"No  indeed,"  replies  he;  "the  writer  passed 
nothing  over,  which  he  did  not  blame,  scourge, 
and  expose  :  in  particular,  he  inveighed  against 
avarice  and  no  less  against  arrogance.  He  dis- 
coursed much  respecting  pride,  and  not  a  little 
about  superstition ;  and  I  will  freely  own  that 
he  seemed  to  me  to  draw  a  true  picture  of  the 
vices  of  multitudes." 


CHAPTER   IX. 

"  But  as  to  familiarities  which  take  place 
between  virgins  and  monks,  or  even  clerics,  how 
true  and  how  courageous  were  his  words  !  And, 
on  account  of  these,  he  is  said  not  to  stand  high 
in  favor  with  certain  people  whom  I  am  un- 
willing to  name.  For,  as  our  Belgian  friend  is 
angry  that  we  were  accused  of  too  great  fond- 
ness for  eating,  so  those  people,  again,  are  said 
to  express  their  rage  when  they  find  it  written  in 
that  little  work,  —  'The  virgin  despises  her  true 
unmarried  brother,  and  seeks  a  stranger.'  " 

Upon  this  I  exclaim,  "You  are  going  too  far, 
my  Gallic  friend  :  take  heed  lest  some  one  who 
perhaps  owns  to  these  things,  hear  what  you  are 
saying,  and  begin  to  hold  you,  along  widi  Hie- 
ronymus,  in  no  great  affection.  For,  since  you 
are  a  learned'  man,  not  unreasonably  will  I  ad- 
monish you  in  the  verse  of  that  comic  poet 
who  says,  —  '  Submission  procures  friends,  while 
truth  gives  rise  to  hatred.'  Let  rather,  Postu- 
mianus,  your  discourse  to  us  about  the  East,  so 
well  begun,  now  be  resumed." 

"  Well,"  says  he,  "  as  I  had  commenced  to 
relate,  I  stayed  with  Hieronyraus  six  months, 
who  carried  on  an  unceasing  warfare  against  the 
wicked,  and  a  perpetual  struggle  in  opposition 
to  the  deadly  hatred  of  ungodly  men.  The 
heretics  hate  him,  because  he  never  desists  from 
attacking  them  ;  the  clerics  hate  him,  because 
he  assails  their  life  and  crimes.  But  beyond 
doubt,  all  the  good  admire  and  love  him  ;  for 
those  people  are  out  of  their  senses,  who  sup- 
pose that  he  is  a  heretic.  Let  me  tell  the  truth 
on  this  point,  which  is  that  the  knowledge  of 
the  man  is  Catholic,  and  that  his  doctrine  is 
sound.  He  is  always  occupied  in  reading,  al- 
ways at  his  books  with  his  whole  heart :  he  takes 
no  rest  day  or  night ;  he  is  perpetually  either 
reading  or  writing  something.  In  fact,  had  I 
not  been  resolved  in  mind,  and  had  promised 

*  "  scholasticus." 


to  God  first  to  visit-  the  desert  previously  referred 
to,  I  should  have  grudged  to  depart  even  for  the 
shortest  time  from  so -great  a  man.  Handing 
over,  then,  and  entrusting  to  him  all  my  pos- 
sessions and  my  whole  family,  which  having  fol- 
lowed me  against  my  own  inclination,  kept  me 
in  a  state  of  embarrassment,  and  thus-  being  in 
a  sort  of  way  delivered  from  a  heavy  burden, 
and  restored  to  freedom  of  action,  I  returned  to 
•Alexandria,  and  having  visited  the  brethren 
there  I  set  out  from  the  place  for  upper  Thebais, 
that  is  for  the  farthest  off  confines  of  Egypt. 
For  a  great  multitude  of  monks  were  said  to 
inhabit  the  widely  extending  solitudes  of  that 
wilderness.  But  here  it  would  be  tedious,  were 
I  to  seek  to  narrate  all  the  things  which  I  wit- 
nessed :  I  shall  only  touch  lightly  on  a  few 
points, 

CHAPTER   X. 

"  Not  far  from  the  desert,  and  close  to  the 
Nile,  there  are  numerous  monasteries.  For  the 
most  part,  the  monks  there  dwell  together  in 
companies  of  a  hundred ;  and  their  highest  rule  is 
to  live  under  the  orders  of  their  Abbot,  to  do 
nothing  by  their  own  inclination,  but  to  depend 
in  all  things  on  his  will  and  authority.  If  it  so 
happens  that  any  of  them  form  in  their  minds 
a  lofty  ideal  of  virtue,  so  as  to  wish  to  betake 
themselves  to  the  desert  to  live  a  solitary  life, 
they  do  not  venture  to  act  on  this  desire  except 
with  the  permission  of  the  Abbot.  In  fact,  this 
is  the  first  of  virtues  in  their  estimation,  —  to 
live  in  obedience  to  the  will  of  another.  To 
those  who  betake  themselves  to  the  desert,  bread 
or  some  other  kind  of  food  is  furnished  by  the 
command  of  that  Abbot.  Now,  it  so  happened 
that,  in  those  days  during  which  I  had  come 
thither,  the  Abbot  had  sent  bread  to  a  certain 
person  who  had  withdrawn  to  the  desert,  and 
hatl  erected  a  tent  for  himself  not  more  than  six 
miles  from  the  monastery.  This  bread  was  sent 
by  the  hands  of  two  boys,  the  elder  of  whom 
was  fifteen,  and  the  younger  twelve  years  of  age. 
As  these  boys  were  returning  home,  an  asp  of 
remarkable  size  encountered  them,  but  they 
were  not  the  least  afraid  on  meeting  it ;  and 
moving  up  to  their  very  feet,  as  if  charmed  by 
some  melody,  it  laid  down  its  dark-green  neck 
before  them.  The  younger  of  the  boys  laid  hold 
of  it  with  his  hand,  and,  wrapping  it  in  his  dress, 
went  on  his  way  with  it.  Then,  entering  the 
monastery  with  the  air  of  a  conqueror,  and 
meeting  with  the  brethren,  while  all  looked  on, 
he  opened  out  his  dress,  and  set  down  the  im- 
prisoned beast,  not  without  some  appearance  of 
boastfulness.  But  while  the  rest  of  the  spec- 
tators extolled  the  faith  and  virtue  of  the  chil- 


"  propositam  eremum." 


DIALOGUES    OF    SULPITIUS    SEVERUS. 


29 


dren,  the  Abbot,  with  deeper  insight,  and  to  pre- 
vent them  at  such  a  tender  age  from  being  puffed 
up  with  pride,  subjected  both  to  punishment. 
This  he  did  after  blaming  them  much  for  having 
p.ul)hcly  revealed  what  the  Lord  had  wrought 
through  their  instrumentality.  He  declared  that 
that  was  not  to  be  attributed  to  their  faith,  but  to 
the  Divine  power  ;  and  added  that  they  should 
rather  learn  to  serve  God  in  humility,  and  not 
to  glory  in  signs  and  wonders  ;  for  that  a  sense 
of  their  own  weakness  was  better  than  any  vain- 
glorious exhibition  of  power. 


CHAPTER   XL 

"  When  the  monk  whom  I  have  mentioned 
heard  of  this,  —  when  he  learned  both  that  the 
children  had  encountered  danger  through  meet- 
ing the  snake,  and  that  moreover,  having  got  the 
better  of  the  serpent,  they  had  received  a  sound 
beating, —  he  implored  the  Abbot  that  henceforth 
no  bread  or  food  of  any  kind  should  be  sent  to 
him.  And  now  the  eighth  day  had  passed  since 
that  man  of  Christ  had  exposed  himself  to  the 
danger  of  perishing  from  hunger  ;  his  limbs  were 
growing  dry  with  fasting,  but  his  mind  fixed 
upon  heaven  could  not  fail ;  his  body  was  wear- 
ing away  with  abstinence,  but  his  faith  remained 
firm.  In  the  meantime,  the  Abbot  was  admon- 
ished by  the  Spirit  to  visit  that  disciple.  Under 
the  influence  of  a  pious  solicitude,  he  was  eager 
to  learn  by  what  means  of  preserving  life  that 
faithful  man  was  supported,  since  he  had  de- 
clined any  human  aid  in  ministering  to  his  ne- 
cessities. Accordingly,  he  sets  out  in  person  to 
satisfy  himself  on  the  subject.  When  the  recluse 
saw  from  a  distance  the  old  man  coming  to  him, 
he  ran  to  meet  him  :  he  thanks  him  for  the 
visit,  and  conducts  him  to  his  cell.  As  they 
enter  the  cell  together,  they  behold  a  basket  of 
palm  branches,  full  of  hot  bread,  hanging  fixed 
at  the  door-post.  And  first  the  smell  of  the  hot 
bread  is  perceived ;  but  on  touching  it,  it  ap- 
pears as  if  just  a  litde  before  it  had  been  taken 
from  the  oven.  At  the  same  time,  they  do  not 
recognize  the  bread  as  being  of  the  shape  com- 
mon in  Egypt.  Both  are  filled  with  amazement, 
and  acknowledge  the  gift  as  being  from  heaven. 
On  the  one  side,  the  recluse  declared  that  this 
event  was  due  to  the  arrival  of  the  Abbot ; 
while,  on  the  other  side,  the  Abbot  ascribed  it 
rather  to  the  faith  and  virtue  of  the  recluse  ;  but 
both  broke  the  heaven-sent  bread  with  exceed- 
ing joy.  And  when,  on  his  return  to  the  mon- 
astery, the  old  man  reported  to  the  brethren 
what  had  occurred,  such  enthusiasm  seized  the 
minds  of  all  of  them,  that  they  vied  with  each 
other  in  their  haste  to  betake  themselves  to  the 
desert,    and    its    sacred  seclusion ;    while    they 


declared  themselves  miserable  in  having  made 
their  abode  only  too  long  amid  a  multitude, 
where  human  fellowship  had  to  be  carried  on 
and  endured. 


CHAPTER   XH. 

"  In  this  monastery  I  saw  two  old  men  who 
were  said  to  have  already  lived  there  for  forty 
years,  and  in  fact  never  to  have  departed  from 
it.  .  I  do  not  think  that  I  should  pass  by  all 
mention  of  these  men,  since,  indeed,  I  heard  the 
following  statement  made  regarding  their  vir- 
tues on  the  testimony  of  the  Abbot  himself,  and 
all  the  brethren,  that  in  the  case  of  one  of 
them,  the  sun  never  beheld  him  feasting,  and  in 
the  case  of  the  other,  the  sun  never  saw  him 
angry." 

Upon  this,  the  Gaul  looking  at  me  exclaims  : 
"  Would  that  a  friend  of  yours  —  I  do  not  wish 
to  mention  his  name  —  were  now  present;  I 
should  greatly  like  him  to  hear  of  that  example, 
since  we  have  had  too  much  experience  of  his 
bitter  anger  in  the  persons  of  a  great  many  peo- 
ple. Nevertheless,  as  I  hear,  he  has  lately  for- 
given his  enemies  ;  and,  in  these  circumstances, 
were  he  to  hear  of  the  conduct  of  that  man,  he 
would  be  more  and  more  strengthened  in  his 
forgiving  course  by  the  example  thus  set  before 
him,  and  would  feel  that  it  is  an  admirable  vir- 
tue not  to  fall  under  the  influence  of  anger.  I 
will  not  indeed  deny  that  he  had  just  reasons 
for  his  wrath  ;  but  where  the  battle  is  hard,  the 
crown  of  victory  is  all  the  more  glorious.  For 
this  reason,  I  think,  if  you  will  allow  me  to  say 
so,  that  a  certain  man  was  justly  to  be  praised, 
because  when  an  ungrateful  freedman  abandoned 
him  he  rather  pitied  than  inveighed  against  the 
fugitive.  And,  indeed,  he  was  not  even  angry 
with  the  man  by  whom  he  seems  to  have  been 
carried  off."  ' 

Upon  this  I  remarked  :  "  Unless  Postumianus 
had  given  us  that  example  of  overcoming  anger, 
I  would  have  been  very  angry  on  account  of  the 
departure  of  the  fugitive  ;  but  since  it  is  not 
lawful  to  be  angry,  all  remembrance  of  such 
things,  as  it  annoys  us,  ought  to  be  blotted  from 
our  minds.  Let  us  rather,  Postumianus,  listen  to 
what  you  have  got  to  say." 

"I  will  do,"  says  he,  "  Sulpitius,  what  you 
request,  as  I  see  you  are  all  so  desirous  of  hear- 
ing me.  But  remember  that  I  do  not  address 
my  speech  to  you  without  hope  of  a  larger 
recompense ;  I  shall  gladly  perform  what  you 
require,  provided  that,  when  ere  long  my  turn 
comes,  you  do  not  refuse  what  I  ask." 

"We    indeed,"    said    I,    "have    nothing   by 


'  It  appears   impossible   to   give   a  certain   rendering  of  these 
words  —  "a  quo  videtur  abductus." 


;o 


DIALOGUES    OF    SULPITIUS    SEVERUS. 


means  of  which  we  can  return  the  obHgation  we 
shall  lie  under  to  you  even  without  a  larger 
return.^  However,  command  us  as  to  anything 
vou  have  thought  about,  provided  you  satisfy 
our  desires,  as  you  have  already  begun  to  do, 
for  your  speech  conveys  to  us  true  delight." 

"■  I  will  stint  nothing,"  said  Postumianus,  "  of 
your  desires  ;  and  inasmuch  as  you  have  recog- 
nized the  virtue  of  one  recluse,  I  shall  go  on  to 
relate  to  you  some  few  things  about  more  such 
persons. 


CHAPTER   Xni. 

"  Well  then,  when  I  entered  upon  the  near- 
est parts  of  the  desert,  about  twelve  miles  from 
the  Nile,  having  as  my  guide  one  of  the  brethren 
who  was  well  acquainted  with  the  localities,  we 
arrived  at  the  residence  of  a  certain  old  monk 
who  dwelt  at  the  foot  of  a  mountain.  In  that 
place  there  was  a  well,  which  is  a  very  rare  thing 
in  these  regions.  The  monk  had  one  ox,  the 
whole  labor  of  which  consisted  in  drawing 
water  by  moving  a  machine  worked  with  a 
wheel.  This  was  the  only  way  of  getting  at  the 
water,  for  the  well  was  said  to  be  a  thousand  or 
more  feet  deep.  There  was  also  a  garden  there 
full  of  a  variety  of  vegetables.  This,  too,  was 
contrary  to  what  might  have  been  expected  in 
the  desert  where,  all  things  being  dry  and  burnt 
up  by  the  fierce  rays  of  the  sun  produce  not 
even  the  slenderest  root  of  any  plant.  But  the 
labor  which  in  common  with  his  ox,  the  monk 
performed,  as  well  as  his  own  special  industry, 
produced  such  a  happy  state  of  things  to  the 
holy  man  ;  for  the  frequent  irrigation  in  which 
he  engaged  imparted  such  a  fertility  to  the  sand 
that  we  saw  the  vegetables  in  his  garden  flour- 
ishing and  coming  to  maturity  in  a  wonderful 
manner.  On  these,  then,  the  ox  lived  as  well  as 
its  master ;  and  from  the  abundance  thus  sup- 
plied, the  holy  man  provided  us  also  with  a  din- 
ner. There  I  saw  what  ye  Gauls,  perchance, 
may  not  believe  —  a  pot  boiling  without  fire ' 
with  the  vegetables  which  were  being  got  ready 
for  our  dinner :  such  is  the  power  of  the  sun  in 
that  place  that  it  is  sufficient  for  any  cooks,  even 
for  preparing  the  -dainties  of  the  Gauls.  Then 
after  dinner,  when  the  evening  was  coming  on,  our 
host  invites  us  to  a  palm-tree,  the  fruit  of  which 
he  was  accustomed  to  use,  and  which  was  at  a 
distance  of  about  two  miles.  For  that  is  the 
only  kind  of  tree  found  in  the  desert,  and  even 
these  are  rare,  though  they  do  occur.  I  am  not 
sure  whether  this  is  owing  to  the  wise  foresight 
of  former  ages,  or  whether   the   soil   naturally 


2  "  vel  sine  fa;nore." 

1  Hornius  strangely  remarks  on  this,  "  Frequens  id  in  Africa. 
Quin  et  ferrum  nimio  solis  ardore  mollesccre  scribunt  qui  interiorem 
Libyain  perlustrarunt." 


produces  them.  It  may  indeed  be  that  God, 
knowing  beforehand  that  the  desert  was  one  day 
to  be  inhabited  by  the  saints,  prepared  tliese 
things  for  his  servants.  For  those  who  settle 
within  these  solitudes  live  for  the  most  part  on 
the  fruit  of  such  trees,  since  no  other  kinds  of 
plants  thrive  in  these  quarters.  Well,  when  we 
came  up  to  that  tree  to  which  the  kindness  of 
our  host  conducted  us,  we  there  met  with  a  lion  ; 
and  on  seeing  it,  both  my  guide  and  myself 
began  to  tremble  ;  but  the  holy  man  went  up 
to  it  without  delay,  while  we,  though  in  great 
terror,  followed  him.  As  if  commanded  by 
God,  the  beast  modestly  withdrew  and  stood 
gazing  at  us,  while  our  friend,  the  monk,  plucked 
some  fruit  hanging  within  easy  reach  on  the 
lower  branches.  And,  on  his  holding  out  his 
hand  filled  with  dates,  the  monster  ran  up  to 
him  and  received  them  as  readily  as  any  domes- 
tic animal  could  have  done ;  and  having  eaten 
them,  it  departed.  We,  beholding  these  things, 
and  being  still  under  the  influence  of  fear,  could 
not  but  perceive  how  great  was  the  power  of 
faith  in  his  case,  and  how  weak  it  was  in  our- 
selves. 


CHAPTER   XIV. 

"  We  found  another  equally  remarkable  man 
living  in  a  small  hut,  capable  only  of  containing 
a  single  person.  Concerning  him  we  were  told 
that  a  she-wolf  was  accustomed  to  stand  near 
him  at  dinner ;  and  that  the  beast  could  by  no 
means  be  easily  deceived  so  as  to  fail  to  be  with 
him  at  the  regular  hour  when  he  took  refresh- 
ment. It  was  also  said  that  the  wolf  waited  at 
the  door  until  he  offered  her  the  bread  which 
remained  over  his  own  humble  dinner ;  that 
she  was  accustomed  to  lick  his  hand,  and  then, 
her  duty  being,  as  it  were,  fulfilled,  and  her  re- 
spects paid  to  him,  she  took  her  departure. 
But  it  so  happened  that  that  holy  man,  while  he 
escorted  a  brother  wiio  had  paid  him  a  visit,  on 
his  way  home,  was  a  pretty  long  time  away,  and 
only  returned  under  night. ^  In  the  meanwhile, 
the  beast  made  its  appearance  at  the  usual  din- 
ner time.  Having  entered  the  vacant  cell  and 
perceived  that  its  benefactor  was  absent,  it  be- 
san  to  search  round  tlie  hut  with  some  curiositv 
to  discover,  if  possible,  the  inhabitant.  Now 
it  so  happened  that  a  basket  of  palm-twigs  was 
hanging  close  at  hand  with  five  loaves  of  bread 
in  it.  Taking  one  of  these,  the  beast  devoured 
it,  and  then,  having  committed  this  evil  deed, 
went  its  way.  The  recluse  on  his  return  found 
the  basket  in  a  state  of  disorder,  and  the  num- 
ber of  loaves  less   than   it  should  have  been, 

'  "  sub  nocte  "  :  this  may  be  used  for  the  usual  classical  form 
"  sub  noctem,"  towards  evening. 


DIALOGUES   OF    SULPITIUS    SEVERUS. 


31 


He  is  aware  of  the  loss  of  his  household  goods, 
and  observes  near  the  threshold  some  fragments 
of  the  loaf  which  had  been  stolen.  Consider- 
ing all  this,  he  had  little  doubt  as  to  the  author 
of  the  theft.  Accordingly,  when  on  the  follow- 
ing days  the  beast  did  not,  in  its  usual  way, 
make  its  appearance  (undoubtedly  hesitating 
from  a  consciousness  of  its  audacious  deed  to 
come  to  him  on  whom  it  had  inflicted  injury), 
the  recluse  was  deeply  grieved  at  being  deprived 
of  the  happiness  he  had  enjoyed  in  its  society. 
At  last,  being  brought  back  through  his  prayers, 
it  appeared  to  him  as  usual  at  dinner  time,  after 
the  lapse  of  seven  days.  But  to  make  clear  to 
every  one  the  shame  it  felt,  through  regret  for 
what  had  been  done,  not  daring  to  draw  very 
near,  and  with  its  eyes,  from  profound  self- 
abasement,  cast  upon  the  earth,  it  seemed,  as 
was  plain  to  the  intelligence  of  every  one,  to  beg 
in  a  sort  of  way,  for  pardon.  The  recluse,  pity- 
ing its  confusion,  bade  it  come  close  to  him,  and 
then,  with  a  kindly  hand,  stroked  its  head ; 
while,  by  giving  it  two  loaves  instead  of  the 
usual  one,  he  restored  the  guilty  creature  to  its 
former  position  ;  and,  laying  aside  its  misery  on 
thus  having  obtained  forgiveness,  it  betook  it- 
self anew  to  its  former  habits.  Behold,  I  beg  of 
you,  even  in  this  case,  the  power  of  Christ,  to 
whom  all  is  wise  that  is  irrational,  and  to  whom 
all  is  mild  that  is  by  nature  savage.  A  wolf  dis- 
charges duty ;  a  wolf  acknowledges  the  crime 
of  theft ;  a  wolf  is  confounded  with  a  sense  of 
shame  :  when  called  for,  it  presents  itself;  it 
offers  its  head  to  be  stroked  ;  and  it  has  a  per- 
ception of  the  pardon  granted  to  it,  just  as  if  it 
had  a  feeling  of  shame  on  account  of  its  mis- 
conduct, —  this  is  thy  power,  O  Christ  —  these, 
O  Christ,  are  thy  marvelous  works.  For  in 
truth,  whatever  things  thy  servants  do  in  thy 
name  are  thy  doings  ;  and  in  this  only  we  find 
cause  for  deepest  grief  that,  while  wild  beasts 
acknowledge  thy  majesty,  intelligent  beings  fail 
to  do  thee  reverence. 


CHAPTER   XV. 

"  But  lest  this  should  perchance  seem  incred- 
ible to  any  one,  I  shall  mention  still  greater 
things.  I  call  Christ^  to  witness  that  I  invent 
nothing,  nor  will  I  relate  things  published  by 
uncertain  authors,  but  will  set  forth  facts  which 
have  been  vouched  for  to  me  by  trustworthy 
men. 

"  Numbers  of  those  persons  live  in  the  desert 
without  any  roofs  over  their  heads,  whom  people 
call  anchorites.-     They  subsist  on  the  roots  of 

'  "  Fides  Christi  adest " :  lit.  "  the  faith  of  Christ  is  present." 
2  Also  spelt  "  anchoret":  it  means  "one  who  has  retired  from 
the  world  "  (dva^wpeu)). 


plants  ;  they  settle  nowhere  in  any  fixed  place, 
lest  they  should  frequently  have  men  visiting 
them  ;  wherever  night  compels  them  they  choose 
their  abode.  Well,  two  monks  from  Nitria 
directed  their  steps  towards  a  certain  man  living 
in  this  stvle,  and  under  these  conditions.  Thev 
did  so,  although  they  were  from  a  very  different 
quarter,  because  they  had  heard  of  his  virtues, 
and  because  he  had  formerly  been  their  dear 
and  intimate  friend,  while  a  member  of  the  same 
monastery.  They  sought  after  him  long  and 
much ;  and  at  length,  in  the  seventh  month, 
they  found  him  staying  in  that  far-distant  wilder- 
ness which  borders  upon  Memphis.  He  was 
said  already  to  have  dwelt  in  these  solitudes  for 
twelve  years ;  but  although  he  shunned  inter- 
course with  all  men,  yet  he  did  not  shrink  from 
meeting  these  friends ;  on  the  contrary,  he 
yielded  himself  to  their  affection  for  a  period 
of  three  days.  On  the  fourth  day,  when  he  had 
gone  some  distance  escorting  them  in  their 
return  journey,  they  beheld  a  lioness  of  remark- 
able size  coming  towards  them.  The  animal, 
although  meeting  with  three  persons,  showed  no 
uncertainty  as  to  the  one  she  made  for,  but 
threw  herself  down  at  the  feet  of  the  anchorite  : 
and,  lying  there  with  a  kind  of  weeping  and 
lamentation,  she  manifested  mingled  feelings  of 
sorrow  and  supplication.  The  sight  affected  all, 
and  especially  him  who  perceived  that  he  was 
sought  for :  he  therefore  sets  out,  and  the  others 
follow  him.  For  the  beast  stopping  from  time 
to  time,  and,  from  time  to  time  looking  back, 
clearly  wished  it  to  be  understood  that  the  an- 
chorite should  follow  wherever  she  led.  What 
need  is  there  of  many  words?  We  arrived  at 
the  den  of  the  animal,  where  she,  the  unfortu- 
nate mother,  was  nourishing  five  whelps  already 
grown  up,  which,  as  they  had  come  forth  with 
closed  eyes  from  the  womb  of  their  dam,  so 
they  had  continued  in  persistent  blindness. 
Bringing  them  out,  one  by  one,  from  the  hollow 
of  the  rock,  she  laid  them  down  at  the  feet  of 
the  anchorite.  Then  at  length  the  holy  man 
perceived  what  the  creature  desired ;  and  having 
called  upon  the  name  of  God,  he  touched  with 
his  hand  the  closed  eyes  of  the  whelps ;  and 
immediately  their  blinclness  ceased,  while  light, 
so  long  denied  them,  streamed  upon  the  open 
eyes  of  the  animals.  Thus,  those  brethren, 
having  visited  the  anchorite  whom  they  were 
desirous  of  seeing,  returned  with  a  very  precious 
reward  for  their  labor,  inasmuch  as,  having  been 
permitted  to  be  eye-witnesses  of  such  power, 
they  had  beheld  the  faith  of  the  saint,  and  the 
glory  of  Christ,  to  which  they  will  in  future 
bear  testimony.  But  I  have  still  more  mar\'els 
to  tell :  the  lioness,  after  five  days,  returned  to 
the  man  who  had  done  her  so  great  a  kindness, 
and  brought  him,  as  a  gift,  the  skin  of  an  un- 


32 


DIALOGUES   OF   SULPITIUS    SEVERUS. 


common  animal.  Frequently  clad  in  this,  as  if 
it  were  a  cloak,  that  holy  man  did  not  disdain  to 
receive  that  gift  through  the  instrumentality  of 
the  beast ;  while,  all  the  time,  he  rather  regarded 


Another  as  being  the  giver 


CHAPTER  XVL 

"  There  was  also  an  illustrious  name  of  an- 
other anchorite   in   those   regions,  a   man  who 
dwelt  in  that  part  of  the  desert  which  is  about 
Syene.     This  man,  when  first  he  betook  himself 
to  the  wilderness,  intended  to  live  on  the  roots 
of  plants  which  the  sand  here  and  there  pro- 
duces, of  a  very  sweet  and  delicious  flavor  ;  but 
being  ignorant  of  the  nature  of  the  herbs,  he 
often  gathered   those  which  were  of  a  deadly 
character.     And,  indeed,  it  was  not  easy  to  dis- 
criminate between  the  kind  of  the  roots  by  the 
mere  taste,   since  all  were   equally  sweet,  but 
many  of  them,  of  a  less  known  nature,  contained 
within  them  a  deadly  poison.     When,  therefore, 
the    poison   within    tormented    him    on    eating 
these,  and  all  his  vitals  were  tortured  with  ter- 
rific pains,  while  frequent  vomitings,   attended 
by  excruciating    agonies,   were    shattering    the 
very  citadel  of  life,  his  stomach  being  completely 
exhausted,  he  was  in  utter  terror  of  all  that  had 
to  be  eaten  for  sustaining  existence.      Having 
thus  fasted  for  seven  days,  he  was  almost  at  the 
point  of  death,  when  a  wild   animal   called   an 
Ibex  came  up  to  him.     To  this  creature  stand- 
ing by  him,  he  offered  a  bundle  of  plants  which 
he  had  collected  on  the  previous  day,  yet  had 
not  ventured  to  touch ;  but  the  beast,  casting 
aside  with  its  mouth  those  which  were  poisonous, 
picked  out  such  as  it  knew  to  be  harmless.     In 
this  way,  that  holy  man,  taught  by  its  conduct 
what  he  ought  to  eat,  and  what  to  reject,  both 
escaped  the  danger  of  dying  of  hunger  and  of 
being  poisoned  by  the  plants.     But  it  would  be 
tedious  to  relate  all  the   facts  which  we  have 
either  had  personal  knowledge  of,  or  have  heard 
from  others,  respecting   those  who  inhabit   the 
desert.     I  spent  a  whole  year,  and  nearly  seven 
months  more,  of  set  purpose,  within  these  soli- 
tudes, being,  however,  rather  an  admirer  of  the 
virtues   of  others,  than  myself  making   any  at- 
tempt to  manifest  the  extraordinary  endurance 
which  they  displayed.     For  the  greater  part  of 
the  time  I  lived  with  the  old  man  whom  I  have 
mentioned,  who  possessed  the  well  and  the  ox. 


CHAPTER   XVII. 

"  I  VISITED  two  monasteries  of  St.  Anthony, 
which  are  at  the  present  day  occupied  by  his 
disciples.     I  also  went  to  that  place  in  which 


the  most  blessed  Paul,  the  first  of  the  eremites, 
had  his  abode.     I  saw  the  Red  Sea  and  the 
ridges  of  Mount  Sinai,  the  top  of  which  almost 
touches    heaven,    and    cannot,   by   any   human 
effort,  be  reached.     An  anchorite  was  said  to 
live  somewhere  within  its  recesses  :  and  I  sought 
long  and  much  to  see  him,  but  was  unable  to  do 
so.     He  had  for  nearly  fifty  years  been  removed 
from  all  human  fellowship,  and  used  no  clothes, 
but  was  covered  with   bristles   growing   on   his 
own  body,  while,  by  Divine  gift,  he  knew  not  of 
his  own  nakedness.     As  often  as  any  pious  men 
desired  to  visit  him,  making  hastily  for  the  path- 
less wilderness,  he  shunned  all  meeting  with  his 
kind.     To  one  man  only,  about  five  years  before 
my  visit,  he  was  said  to  have  granted  an  inter- 
view ;    and    I    beUeve    that    man   obtained    the 
favor    through    the    power  of  his  faith.     Amid 
much    talk   which    the    two    had    together,   the 
recluse  is  said  to  have  replied  to  the  question 
why  he  shunned  so  assiduously  all  human  beings, 
that    the    man   who   was    frequently  visited    by 
mortals  like  himself,  could  not  often  be  visited 
by  angels.     From  this,  not  without  reason,  the 
report  had  spread,  and  was  accepted  by  multi- 
tudes, that  that  holy  man  enjoyed  angelic  fellow- 
ship.    Be  this  as  it  may,  I,  for  my  part,  departed 
from  Mount  Sinai,  and  returned  to  the  river  Nile, 
the   banks  of  which,  on  both  sides,  I  beheld 
dotted  over  with  numerous  monasteries.     I  saw 
that,  for  the  most  part,  as  I  have  already  said, 
the  monks  resided  together  in  companies  of  a 
hundred  ;  but  it  was  well  known  that  so  many 
as  two  or  three  thousand  sometimes  had  their 
abode  in  the  same  villages.     Nor  indeed  would 
one  have  any  reason  to  think  that  the  virtue  of 
the  monks  there  dwelling  together  in  great  num- 
bers, was  less  than  that  of  those  was  known  to 
be,    who    kept    themselves    apart    from    human 
fellowship.     The  chief  and  foremost  virtue  in 
these  places,  as  I  have  already  said,  is  obedience. 
In  fact,  any  one  applying  for  admission  is  not 
received  by  the  Abbot  of  the  monastery  on  any 
other   condition    than    that    he    be    first    tried 
and  proved  ;  it  being  understood   that  he  will 
never  afterwards  decline   to  submit   to   any  in- 
junction of  the  Abbot,    however  arduous   and 
difficult,   and   though   it  may  seem   something 
unworthy  to  be  endured. 


CHAPTER   XVIII. 

"  I  WILL  relate  two  wonderful  examples  of 
almost  incredible  obedience,  and  two  only, 
although  many  i)resent  themselves  to  my  recol- 
lection ;  but  if,  in  any  case,  a  few  instances  do 
not  suffice  to  rouse  readers  to  an  imitation  of 
the  like  virtues,  many  would  be  of  no  advantage. 
Well  then,  when  a  certain  man  having  laid  aside 


DIALOGUES    OF    SULPITIUS    SEVERUS. 


33 


all  worldly  business,  and  having  entered  a  mon- 
astery of  very '  strict  discipline,  begged  that  he 
might  be  accepted  as  a  member,  the  Abbot  be- 
gan to  place  many  considerations  before  him,  — 
that  the  toils  of  that  order  were  severe  ;  that  his 
own  requirements  were  heavy,  and  such  as  no 
one's  endurance  could  easily  comply  with  ;  that 
he  should  rather  enquire  after  another  monas- 
tery where  life  was  carried  on  under  easier  con- 
ditions ;  and  that  he  should  not  try  to  attempt 
that  .which  he  was  unable  to  accomplish.  But 
he  was  in  no  degree  moved  by  these  terrors ; 
on  the  contrary,  he  all  the  more  promised 
obedience,  saying  that  if  the  Abbot  should 
order  him  to  walk  into  the  fire,  he  would  not 
refuse  to  enter  it.  The  Master  then,  having 
accepted  that  profession  of  his,  did  not  delay 
putting  it  to  the  test.  It  so  happened  that  an 
iron  vessel  was  close  at  hand,  very  hot,  as  it  was 
being  got  ready  by  a  powerful  fire  for  cooking 
some  loaves  of  bread  :  the  flames  were  bursting 
forth  from  the  oven  broken  open,  and  fire  raged 
without  restraint  within  the  hollows  of  that  fur- 
nace. The  Master,  at  this  stage  of  affairs, 
ordered  the  stranger  to  enter  it,  nor  did  he 
hesitate  to  obey  the  command.  Without  a 
moment's  delay  he  entered  into  the  midst  of  the 
flames,  which,  conquered  at  once  by  so  bold  a 
display  of  faith,  subsided  at  his  approach,  as 
happened  of  old  to  the  well-known  Hebrew 
children.  Nature  was  overcome,  and  the  fire 
gave  way  ;  so  that  he,  of  whom  it  was  thought 
that  he  would  be  burned  to  death,  had  reason  to 
marvel  at  himself,  besprinkled,  as  it  were,  with 
a  cooling  dew.  But  what  wonder  is  it,  O  Christ, 
that  that  fire  did  not  touch  thy  youthful  soldier  ? 
The  result  was  that,  neither  did  the  Abbot 
regret  having  issued  such  harsh  commands,  nor 
did  the  disciple  repent  having  obeyed  the 
orders  received.  He,  indeed,  on  the  very  day 
on  which  he  came,  being  tried  in  his  weakness, 
was  found  perfect ;  deservedly  happy,  deservedly 
glorious,  having  been  tested  in  obedience,  he 
was  glorified  through  suffering. 


CHAPTER   XIX. 

"  In  the  same  monastery,  the  fact  which  I  am 
about  to  narrate  was  said  to  have  occurred 
within  recent  memory.  A  certain  man  had 
come  to  the  same  Abbot  in  like  manner  with 
the  former,  in  order  to  obtain  admission.  When 
the  first  law  of  obedience  was  placed  before 
him,  and  he  promised  an  unfailing  patience  for 
the  endurance  of  all  things  however  extreme,  it 
so  happened  that  the  Abbot  was  holding  in  his 
hand  a  twig  of  storax  already  withered.     This 

^  "  monasterium  magnae  dispositionis." 


the  Abbot  fixed  in  the  ground,  and  imposed  this 
work  upon  the  visitor,  that  he  should  continue 
to  water  the  twig,  until  (what  was  against  every 
natural  result)  that  dry  piece  of  wood  should 
grow  green  in  the  sandy  soil.  Well,  the  stranger, 
being  placed  under  the  authority  of  unbending 
law,  conveyed  water  every  clay  on  his  own 
shoulders  —  water  which  had  to  be  taken  from 
the  river  Nile,  at  almost  two  miles'  distance. 
And  now,  after  a  year  had  run  its  course,  the 
labor  of  that  workman  had  not  yet  ceased,  but 
there  could  be  no  hope  of  the  good  success  of 
his  undertaking.  However,  the  grace  of  obedi- 
ence continued  to  be  shown  in  his  labor.  The 
following  year  also  mocked  the  vain  labor  of  the 
(by  this  time)  weakened  brother.  At  length, 
as  the  third  annual  circle  was  gliding  by,  while 
the  workman  ceased  not,  night  or  day,  his 
labor  in  watering,  the  twig  began  to  show  signs 
of  life.  I  have  myself  seen  a  small  tree  sprung 
from  that  little  rod,  which,  standing  at  the 
present  day  with  green  branches  in  the  court 
of  the  monastery,  as  if  for  a  witness  of  what  has 
been  stated,  shows  what  a  reward  obedience 
received,  and  what  a  power  faith  can  exert. 
But  the  day  would  fail  me  before  I  could  fully 
enumerate  the  many  different  miracles  which 
have  become  known  to  me  in  connection  with 
the  virtues  of  the  saints. 


CHAPTER  XX. 

"  I  WILL,  however,  still  further  give  you  an 
account  of  two  extraordinary  marvels.  The  one 
of  these  wiU  be  a  notable  warning  against  the 
inflation  of  wretched  vanity,  and  the  other  will 
serve  as  no  mean  guard  against  the  display  of  a 
spurious  righteousness. 

"A  certain  saint,  then,  endowed  with  almost 
incredible  power  in  casting  out  demons  from 
the  bodies  of  those  possessed  by  them,  was,  day 
by  day,  performing  unheard-of  miracles.  For, 
not  only  when  present,  and  not  merely  by  his 
word,  but  while  absent  also,  he,  from  time  to 
time,  cured  possessed  bodies,  by  some  threads 
taken  from  his  garment,  or  by  letters  which  he 
sent.  He,  therefore,  was  to  a  wonderful  degree 
visited  by  people  who  came  to  him  from  every 
part  of  the  world,  I  say  nothing  about  those 
of  humbler  rank ;  but  prefects,  courtiers,  and 
judges  of  various  ranks  often  lay  at  his  doors. 
Most  holy  bishops  also,  laying  aside  their  priestly 
dignity,  and  humbly  imploring  him  to  touch  and 
bless  them,  believed  with  good  reason  that  they 
were  sanctified,  and  illumined  with  a  divine 
gift,  as  often  as  they  touched  his  hand  and  gar- 
ment. He  was  reported  to  abstain  always  and 
utterly  from  every  kind  of  drink,  and  for  food 
(I  will  whisper,  this,  Sulpitius,  into  your  ear  lest 


34 


DIALOGUES    OF    SULPITIUS   SEVERUS. 


our  friend  the  Gaul  hear  it),  to  subsist  upon 
only  six  dried  figs.  But  in  the  meantime,  just 
as  honor  accrued  to  the  holy  man  from  his 
excellence,^  so  vanity  began  to  steal  upon  him 
from  the  honor  which  was  paid  him.  When 
first  he  perceived  that  this  evil  was  growing  upon 
him,  he  struggled  long  and  earnestly  to  shake  it 
off,  but  it  could  not  be  thoroughly  got  rid  of  by 
all  his  efforts,  since  he  still  had  a  secret  con- 
sciousness of  being  under  the  influence  of  vanity. 
Everywhere  did  the  demons  acknowledge  his 
name,  while  he  was  not  able  to  exclude?  from 
his  presence  the  number  of  people  who  flocked 
to  him.  The  hidden  poison  was,  in  the  mean- 
time, working  in  his  breast,  and  he,  at  whose 
beck  demons  were  expelled  from  the  bodies  of 
others,  was  quite  unable  to  cleanse  himself  from 
the  hidden  thoughts  of  vanity.  Betaking  him- 
self, therefore,  with  fervent  supplication  to  God, 
he  is  said  to  have  prayed  that,  power  being 
given  to  the  devil  over  him  for  five  months,  he 
might  become  like  to  those  whom  he  himself 
had  cured.  Why  should  I  delay  with  many 
words  ?  That  most  powerful  man,  —  he,  re- 
nowned for  his  miracles  and  virtues  through  all 
the  East,  he,  to  whose  threshold  multitudes  had 
gathered)  and  at  whose  door  the  highest  digni- 
taries of  that  age  had  prostrated  themselves  — 
laid  hold  of  by  a  demon,  was  kept  fast  in 
chains.  It  was  only  after  having  suffered  all 
those  things  which  the  possessed  are  wont  to 
endure,  that  at  length  in  the  fifth  month  he  was 
delivered,  not  only  from  the  demon,  but  (what 
was  to  him  more  useful  and  desirable)  from  the 
vanity  which  had  dwelt  within  him. 


CHAPTER  XXL 

"  But  to  me  reflecting  on  these  things,  there 
occurs  the  thought  of  our  own  unhappiness  and 
our  own  infirmity.  For  who  is  there  of  us, 
whom  if  one  despicable  creature  of  a  man  has 
humbly  saluted,  or  one  woman  has  praised  with 
foolish  and  flattering  words,  is  not  at  once  elated 
with  pride  and  puffed  up  with  vanity?  This 
will  bring  it  about  that  even  though  one  does 
not  possess  a  consciousness  of  sanctity,  yet,  be- 
cause through  the  flattery,  or,  it  may  be,  the 
mistake  of  fools,  he  is  said  to  be  a  holy  man, 
he  will,  in  fact,  deem  himself  most  holy  !  And 
then,  if  frequent  gifts  are  sent  to  him,  he  will 
maintain  that  he  is  so  honored  by  the  munifi- 
cence of  God,  inasmuch  as  all  necessary  things 
are  bestowed  upon  him  when  sleeping  and  at 
rest.  But  further,  if  some  signs  of  any  kind 
of  power  fall  to  him  even  in  a  low  degree,  he 

'  "  virtute,"  perhaps  power,  as  in  many  other  places. 


will  think  himself  no  less  than  an  angel.  And 
even  if  he  is  not  marked  out  from  others  either 
by  acts  or  excellence,  but  is  simply  made  a 
cleric,  he  instantly  enlarges  the  fringes  of  his 
dress,  delights  in  salutations,  is  puffed  up  by 
people  visiting  him,  and  himself  gads  about 
everywhere.  Nay,  the  man  who  had  been  pre- 
viously accustomed  to  travel  on  foot,  or  at  most 
to  ride  on  the  back  of  an  ass,  must  needs  now 
ride  proudly  on  frothing  steeds ;  formerly  con- 
tent to  dwell  in  a  small  and  humble  cell,  he 
now  builds  a  lofty  fretted  ceiling  ;  he  constructs 
many  rooms ;  he  cuts  and  carves  doors ;  he 
paints  wardrobes  ;  he  rejects  the  coarser  kind 
of  clothing,  and  demands  soft  garments  ;  and  he 
gives  such  orders  as  the  following  to  dear  wid- 
ows and  friendly  virgins,  that  the  one  class  weave 
for  him  an  embroidered  cloak,  and  the  other  a 
flowing  robe.  But  let  us  leave  all  these  things 
to  be  described  more  pungently  by  that  blessed 
man  Hieronymus  ;  and  let  us  return  to  the  ob- 
ject more  immediately  in  view." 

"  Well,"  says  our  Gallic  friend  upon  this,  "  I 
know  not  indeed  what  you  have  left  to  be  said 
by  Hieronymus ;  you  have  within  such  brief 
compass  comprehended  all  our  practices,  that  I 
think  these  few  words  of  yours,  if  they  are  taken 
in  good  part,  and  patiently  considered,  will 
greatly  benefit  those  in  question,  so  that  they 
will  not  require  in  future  to  be  kept  in  order  by 
the  books  of  Hieronymus.  But  do  thou  rather 
go  on  with  what  you  had  begun,  and  bring  for- 
ward an  example,  as  you  said  you  would  do, 
against  spurious  righteousness ;  for  to  tell  you 
the  truth,  we  are  subject  to  no  more  destructive 
evil  than  this  within  the  wide  boundaries  of 
Gaul." 

'•  I  will  do  so,"  replied  Postumianus,  "  nor 
will  I  any  longer  keep  you  in  a  state  of  expec- 
tation. 


CHAPTER   XXn. 

"  A  CERTAIN  young  man  from  Asia,  exceed- 
ingly wealthy,  of  distinguished  family,  and  hav- 
ing a  wife  and  little  son,  happening  to  have  been 
a  tribune  in  Egypt,  and  in  frequent  campaigns 
against  the  Blembi  to  have  touched  on  some 
parts  of  the  desert,  and  having  also  seen  several 
tents  of  the  saints,  heard  the  word  of  salvation 
from  the  blessed  John.  And  he  did  not  "then 
delay  to  show  his  contempt  for  an  unprofitable 
military  life  with  its  vain  honor.  Bravely  enter- 
ing into  the  wilderness,  he  in  a  short  time  be- 
came distinguished  as  being  perfect  in  every 
kind  of  virtue.  Capable  of  lengthened  fasting, 
conspicuous  for  humility,  and  steadfast  in  faith, 
he  had  easily  obtained  a  reputation  in  the  pur- 


DIALOGUES    OF    SULPITIUS   SEVERUS. 


35 


suit  of  virtue  equal  to  that  of  the  monks  of  old. 
But  by  and  by,  the  thought   (proceeding  from 
the  devil)    entered  his  mind  that  it  would  be 
more  proper  for  him  to  return  to  his  native  land 
and  be  the  means  of  saving  his  only  son  and  his 
family  along  with  his  wife  ;  which  surely  would 
be  more  acceptable  to  God  than  if  he,  content 
with   only   rescuing    himself    from    the    world, 
should,  not  without  impiety,  neglect  the  salva- 
tion of  his  friends.     Overcome  by  the  plausible 
appearance  of  that  kind  of  spurious  righteous- 
ness, the  recluse,  after  a  period  of  nearly  four 
years,  forsook  his  cell  and  the  end  to  which  he 
had  devoted  his  life.     But   on  arriving  at  the 
nearest    monastery,    which    was    inhabited    by 
many   brethren,  he  made  known   to   them,  in 
reply  to  their  questionings,  the  reason  of  his  de- 
parture and  the  object  he  had  in  view.     All  of 
them,  and  especially  the  Abbot  of  that  place, 
sought  to  keep  him  back ;  but  the  intention  he 
had  unfortunately  formed   could  not  be  rooted 
out  of  his  mind.     Accordingly  with  an  unhappy 
obstinacy  he  went  forth,  and,  to  the  grief  of  all, 
departed  from  the  brethren.     But  scarcely  had 
he  vanished  from  their  sight,  when  he  was  taken 
possession  of  by  a  demon,  and  vomiting  bloody 
froth  from  his  mouth,  he  began  to  lacerate  him- 
self with   his   own   teeth.     Then,  having  been 
carried   back   to   the   same    monastery  on   the 
shoulders  of   the  brethren,  when    the  unclean 
spirit  could  not  be  restrained  within  its  walls,  he 
was,  from  dire  necessity,  loaded  with  iron  fet- 
ters, being  bound  both  in   hands  and  feet  —  a 
punishment  not  undeserved  by  a   fugitive,  in- 
asmuch as   chains    now  restrained   him  whom 
faith  had  not  restrained.     At  length,  after  two 
years,  having  been  set  free  from  the  unclean 
spirit  by  the  prayers  of  the  saints,  he  immedi- 
ately returned  to  the  desert  from  which  he  had 
departed.     In  this  way  he  was  both  himself  cor- 
rected and  was  rendered  a  warning  to   others, 
that   the    shadow   of  a   spurious    righteousness 
might  neither  delude  any  one,  nor  a  shifting 
fickleness  of  character  induce  any  one,  with  un- 
profitable inconstancy,  to  forsake  the  course  on 
which  he   has    once   entered.     And   now  let  it 
suffice  for  you  to  learn  these  things  respecting 
the  various  operations  of  the    Lord   which  he 
has  carried  on  in  the  persons  of  his  servants  ; 
with  the  view  either  of  stimulating  others  to  a 
like   kind   of    conduct,  or   of    deterring   them 
from  particular  actions.     But  since  I  have  by 
this  time  fully  satisfied  your  ears  —  have,  in  fact, 
been  more  lengthy  than  I  ought  to  have  been  — 
do  you  now  (upon  this  he  addressed  himself  to 
me) — pay   me  the   recompense   you    owe,  by 
letting  us  hear   you,  after  your   usual   fashion, 
discoursing   about   your  friend  Martin,  for  my 
longings  after  this  have  already  for  a  long  time 
been  strongly  excited." 


CHAPTER  XXIIL 

"What,"  replied  I,  "is  there  not  enough 
about  my  friend  Martin  in  that  book  of  mine 
which  you  know  that  I  published  respecting  his 
life  and  virtues?  " 

"I  own  it,"  said  Postumianus,  "and  that 
book  of  yours  is  never  far  from  my  right  hand. 
For  if  you  recognize  it,  look  here  —  (and  so 
saying  he  displayed  the  book  which  was  con- 
cealed in  his  dress)  — here  it  is.  This  book," 
added  he,  "  is  my  companion  both  by  land  and 
sea  :  it  has  been  my  friend  and  comforter  in  all 
my  wanderings.  But  I  will  relate  to  you  to  what 
places  that  book  has  penetrated,  and  how  there 
is  almost  no  spot  upon  earth  in  which  the  sub- 
ject of  so  happy  a  history  is  not  possessed  as  a 
well-known  narrative.  Paulinus,  a  man  who  has 
the  strongest  regard  for  you,  was  the  first  to 
bring  it  to  the  city  of  Rome  ;  and  then,  as  it 
was  greedily  laid  hold  of  by  the  whole  city,  I 
saw  the  booksellers  rejoicing  over  it,  inasmuch 
as  nothing  was  a  source  of  greater  gain  to  them, 
for  nothing  commanded  a  readier  sale,  or  fetched 
a  higher  price.  This  same  book,  having  got  a 
long  way  before  me  in  the  course  of  my  travel- 
ing, was  already  generally  read  through  all 
Carthage,  when  I  came  into  Africa.  Only  that 
presbyter  of  Cyrene  whom  I  mentioned  did  not 
possess  it ;  but  he  wrote  down  its  contents  from 
my  description.  And  why  should  I  speak  about 
Alexandria?  for  there  it  is  almost  better  known 
to  all  than  it  is  to  yourself.  It  has  passed 
through  Egypt,  Nitria,  the  Thebaid,  and  the 
whole  of  the  regions  of  Memphis.  I  found  it 
being  read  by  a  certain  old  man  in  the  desert ; 
and,  after  I  told  him  that  I  was  your  intimate 
friend,  this  commission  was  given  me  both  by 
him  and  many  other  brethren,  that,  if  I  should 
ever  again  visit  this  country,  and  find  you  well, 
I  should  constrain  you  to  supply  those  particu- 
lars which  you  stated  in  your  book  you  had 
passed  over  respecting  the  virtues  of  the  sainted 
man.  Come  then,  as  I  do  not  desire  you  to 
repeat  to  me  those  things  which  are  already 
sufficiently  known  from  what  you  have  written, 
let  those  other  points,  at  my  request  and  that  of 
many  others,  be  fully  set  forth,  which  at  the 
time  of  your  writing  you  passed  over,  to  pre- 
vent, as  I  beheve,  any  feeling  of  weariness  on 
the  part  of  your  readers." 


CHAPTER   XXIV. 

"Indeed,  Postumianus,"  replied  I,  "while  I 
was  listening  attentively,  all  this  time,  to  you 
talking  about  the  excellences  of  the  saints,  in 
my  secret  thoughts  I  had  my  mind  turned  to  my 
friend  Martin,  observing  on  the  best  of  grounds 


36 


DIALOGUES    OF    SULPITIUS    SEVERUS. 


that  all  those  things  which  different  individuals 
had  done  separately,  were  easily  and  entirely  ac- 
complished by  that  one  man  alone.  For,  although 
you  certainly  related  lofty  deeds,  I  really  heard 
nothing  from  your  lips  (may  I  say  it,  without  of- 
fence to  these  holy  men),  in  which  Martin  was 
inferior  to  any  one  of  them.  And  while  I  hold 
that  the  excellence  of  no  one  of  these  is  ever  to 
be  compared  with  the  merits  of  that  man,  still 
this  point  ought  to  be  attended  to,  that  it  is  un- 
fair he  should  be  compared,  on  the  same  terms, 
with  the  recluses  of  the  desert,  or  even  with  the 
anchorites.  For  they,  at  freedom  from  every 
hindrance,  with  heaven  only  and  the  angels  as 
witnesses,  were  clearly  instructed  to  perform  ad- 
mirable deeds ;  he,  on  the  other  hand,  in  the 
midst  of  crowds  and  intercourse  with  human 
beings  —  among  quarrelsome  clerics,  and  among 
furious  bishops,  while  he  was  harassed  with  al- 
most daily  scandals  on  all  sides,  nevertheless 
stood  absolutely  firm  with  unconquerable  virtue 
against  all  these  things,  and  performed  such  won- 
ders as  not  even  those  accomplished  of  whom 
we  have  heard  that  they  are,  or  at  one  time  were, 
in  the  wilderness.  But  even  had  they  done 
things  equal  to  his,  what  judge  would  be  so  un- 
just as  not,  on  good  grounds,  to  decide  that  he 
was  the  more  powerful?  For  put  the  case  that 
he  was  a  soldier  who  fought  on  unfavorable 
ground,  and  yet  turned  out  a  conqueror,  and 
compare  them,  in  like  manner,  to  soldiers,  who, 
however,  contended  on  equal  terms,  or  even  on 
favorable  terms,  with  the  enemy.  What  then? 
Although  the  victory  of  all  is  one  and  the  same, 
the  glory  of  all  certainly  cannot  be  equal.  And 
even  though  you  have  narrated  marvelous  things, 
still  you  have  not  stated  that  a  dead  man  was 
recalled  to  life  by  any  one.  In  this  one  particu- 
lar undoubtedly,  it  must  be  owned  that  no  one 
is  to  be  compared  with  Martin. 


CHAPTER   XXV. 

"For,  if  it  is  worthy  of  admiration  that  the 
flames  did  not  touch  that  Egyptian  of  whom 
you  have  spoken,  Martin  also  not  infrequently 
proved  his  power  over  fire.  If  you  remind  us 
that  the  savagery  of  wild  beasts  was  conquered 
by,  send  yielded  to,  the  anchorites,  Martin,  for 
his  part,  was  accustomed  to  keep  in  check  both 
the  fury  of  wild  beasts  and  the  poison  of  ser- 
pents. But,  if  you  bring  forward  for  compari- 
son him  who  cured  those  possessed  of  unclean 
spirits,  by  the  authority  of  his  word,  or  even 
through  the  instrumentality  of  threads  from  his 
dress,  there  are  many  proofs  that  Martin  was 
not,  even  in  this  respect,  inferior.  Nay,  should 
you  have  recourse  to  him,  who,  covered  with  his 
own  hair  instead  of  a  garment,  was  thought  to 


be  visited  by  angels,  with  Martin  angels  were 
wont  to  hold  daily  discourse.  Moreover,  he 
bore  so  unconquerable  a  spirit  against  vanity  and 
boastfulness,  that  no  one  more  determinedly  dis- 
dained these  vices,  and  that,  although  he  often, 
while  absent,  cured  those  who  were  filled  with 
unclean  spirits,  and  issued  his  commands  not 
only  to  courtiers  or  prefects,  but  also  to  kings 
themselves.  This  was  indeed  a  very  small 
thing  amid  his  other  virtues,  but  I  should  wish 
you  to  believe  that  no  one  ever  contended  more 
earnestly  than  he  did  against  not  only  vanity, 
but  also  the  causes  and  the  occasions  of  vanity. 
I  shall  also  mention  what  is  indeed  a  small 
point,  but  should  not  be  passed  over,  because  it 
is  to  the  credit  of  a  man  who,  being  possessed 
of  the  highest  power,  manifested  such  a  pious 
desire  to  show  his  regard  for  the  blessed  Martin. 
I  remember,  then,  that  Vincentius  the  prefect, 
an  illustrious  man,  and  one  of  the  most  eminent 
in  all  Gaul  for  every  kind  of  virtue,  when  he  had 
occasion  to  be  in  the  vicinity  of  Tours,  often 
begged  of  Martin  that  he  would  allow  him  to 
stay  with  him  in  the  monastery.  In  making 
this  request,  he  brought  forward  the  example  of 
Saint  Ambrose,  the  bishop,  who  was  generally 
spoken  of  at  that  time  as  being  in  the  habit  of 
entertaining  both  consuls  and  prefects.  But 
Martin,  with  deeper  judgment,  refused  so  to  act, 
lest  by  so  doing  some  vanity  and  inflation  of 
spirit  might  steal  upon  him.  You,  therefore, 
must  acknowledge  that  there  existed  in  Martin 
the  virtues  of  all  those  men  whom  you  have 
mentioned,  but  there  were  not  found  in  all  of 
them  the  virtues  by  which  Martin  was  distin- 
guished." 


CHAPTER   XXVI. 

"  Why  do  you,"  here  exclaimed  Postumianus, 
"  speak  to  me  in  such  a  manner?  As  if  I  did 
not  hold  the  same  opinion  as  yourself,  and  had 
not  always  been  of  the  same  mind.  I,  indeed, 
as  long  as  I  live,  and  retain  my  senses,  will  ever 
celebrate  the  monks  of  Egypt :  I  will  praise  the 
anchorites ;  I  will  admire  the  eremites ;  but  I 
will  place  Martin  in  a  position  of  his  own  :  I  do 
not  venture  to  compare  to  him  any  one  of  the 
monks,  far  less  any  of  the  bishops.  Egypt  owns 
this  :  Syria  and  ^'lithiopia  have  discovered  this  : 
India  has  heard  this  ;  Parthia  and  Persia  have 
known  this  ;  not  even  Armenia  is  ignorant  of  it ; 
the  remote  Bosphorus  is  aware  of  it ;  and  in  a 
word,  those  are  acquainted  with  it  who  visit 
the  P'ortunate  Islands  or  the  Arctic  Ocean.  All 
the  more  wretched  on  this  account  is  this  coun- 
try of  ours,  which  has  not  been  found  worthy  to 
be  acquainted  with  so  great  a  man,  although  he 
was  in  its  immediate  vicinity.     However,  I  will 


DIALOGUES    OF    SULPITIUS    SEVERUS. 


17 


not  include  the  people  at  large  in  this  censure  : 
only  the  clerics,  only  the  priests  know  nothing 
of  him  ;  and  not  without  reason  were  they,  in 
their  ill-will,  disinclined  to  know  him,  inasmuch 
as,  had  they  become  acquainted  with  his  virtues, 
they  must  have  recognized  their  own  vices.  I 
shudder  to  state  what  I  have  lately  heard,  that 
a  miserable  man  (I  know  him  not),  has  said 
that  you  have  told  many  lies  in  that  book  of 
yours.  This  is  not  the  voice  of  a  man,  but  of 
the  devil ;  and  it  is  not  Martin  who  is,  in  this 
way,  injured,  but  faith  is  taken  from  the  Gospels 
themselves.  For,  since  the  Lord  himself  testi- 
fied of  works  of  the  kind  which  Martin  accom- 
plished, that  they  were  to  be  performed  by  all 
the  faithful,  he  who  does  not  believe  that  Martin 
accomplished  such  deeds,  simply  does  not  be- 
lieve that  Christ  uttered  such  words.  But  the 
miserable,  the  degenerate,  the  somnolent,  are 
put  to  shame,  that  the  things  which  they  them- 
selves cannot  do,  were  done  by  him,  and  prefer 
rather  to  deny  his  virtues  than  to  confess  their 
own  inertness.  But  let  us,  as  we  hasten  on  to 
other  matters,  let  go  all  remembrance  of  such 
persons  :  and  do  you  rather,  as  I  have  for  a  long 
time  desired,  proceed  to  narrate  the  still  untold 
deeds  of  Martin." 

"  Well,"  said  I,  "  I  think  that  your  request 
would  more  properly  be  directed  to  our  friend 
the  Gaul,  since  he  is  acquainted  with  more  of 
Martin's  doings  than  I  am  —  for  a  disciple  could 
not  be  ignorant  of  the  deeds  of  his  master  —  and 
who  certainly  owes  a  return  of  kindness,  not 
only  to  Martin,  but  to  both  of  us,  inasmuch  as 
I  have  already  published  my  book,  and  you  have, 
so  far,  related  to  us  the  doings  of  our  brethren 
in  the  East.  Let  then,  our  friend  the  Gaul 
commence  that  detailed  account  which  is  due 
from  him :  because,  as  I  have  said,  he  both 
owes  us  a  return  in  the  way  of  speaking,  and 
will,  I  believe,  do  this  much  for  his  friend  Mar- 
tin—  that  he  shall,  not  unwillingly,  give  a  nar- 
rative of  his  deeds." 


CHAPTER  XXVII. 

"Well,"  said  the  Gaul,  "I,  for  my  part, 
though  I  am  unequal  to  so  great  a  task,  feel 
constrained  by  those  examples  of  obedience 
which  have  been  related  above  by  Postumianus, 
not  to  refuse  that  duty  which  you  impose  upon 
me.  But  when  I  reflect  that  I,  a  man  of  Gaul,' 
am  about  to  speak  in  the  presence  of  natives  of 
Aquitania,  I  fear  lest  my  somewhat  rude  form 
of  speech  should  offend  your  too  delicate  ears. 

1  The  word  Caw/ must  here  be  taken  in  its  more  limited  sense 
as  denoting  only  the  country-  of  the  Celtae.  See  the  well-known 
first  sentence  of  Csesar's  Gallic  War. 


However,  you  will  listen  to  me  as  a  foolish  sort^ 
of  man,  who  says  nothing  in  an  affected  or  stilted 
foshion.  For  if  you  have  conceded  to  me  that 
I  was  a  disciple  of  Martin,  grant  me  this  also 
that  I  be  allowed,  under  the  shelter  of  his  ex- 
ample, to  despise  the  vain  trappings  of  speech 
and  ornaments  of  words." 

"Certainly,"  replied  Postumianus,  "speak either 
in  Celtic,  or  in  Gaulish,  if  you  prefer  it,  provided 
only  you  speak  of  Martin.  But  for  my  part,  I 
believe,  that,  even  though  you  were  dumb, 
words  would  not  be  wanting  to  you,  in  which 
you  might  speak  of  Martin  with  eloquent  lips, 
just  as  the  tongue  of  Zacharias  was  loosed  at  the 
naming  of  John.  But  as  you  are,  in  fact,  an 
orator,^  you  craftily,  like  an  orator,  begin  by 
begging  us  to  excuse  your  unskillfulness,  because 
you  really  excel  in  eloquence.  But  it  is  not 
fitting  either  that  a  monk  should  show  such  cun- 
ning, or  that  a  Gaul  should  be  so  artful.  But  to 
work  rather,  and  set  forth  what  you  have  still 
got  to  say,  for  we  have  wasted  too  much  time 
already  in  dealing  with  other  matters ;  and  the 
lengthening  shadow  of  the  declining  sun  warns 
us  that  no  long  portion  of  day  remains  till  night 
be  upon  us.  Then,  after  we  had  all  kept  silence 
for  a  little,  the  Gaul  thus  begins  —  "I  think  I 
must  take  care  in  the  first  place  not  to  repeat 
those  particulars  about  the  virtues  of  Martin, 
which  our  friend  Sulpitius  there  has  related  in 
his  book.  For  this  reason,  I  shall  pass  over  his 
early  achievements,  when  he  was  a  soldier  ;  nor 
will  I  touch  on  those  things  which  he  did  as  a 
layman  and  a  monk.  At  the  same  time,  I  shall 
relate  nothing  which  I  simply  heard  from  others, 
but  only  events  of  which  I  myself  was  an  eye- 
witness." 


DIALOGUE    II. 

CONCERNING   THE    VIRTUES    OF    ST.    MARTIN. 

CHAPTER   I. 

"  Well  then,  when  first,  having  left  the  schools, 
I  attached  myself  to  the  blessed  man,  a  few 
days  after  doing  so,  we  followed  him  on  his  way 
to  the  church.  In  the  way,  a  poor  man,  half- 
naked  in  these  winter-months,  met  him,  and 
begged  that  some  clothing  might  be  given  him. 
Then  Martin,  calling  for  the  chief-deacon,  gave 
orders  that  the  shivering  creature  should  be 
clothed  without  delay.  After  that,  entering  a 
private  apartment,  and  sitting  down  by  himself, 
as  his  custom  was  —  for  he  secured  for  himself 
this  retirement  even  in  the  church,  liberty  being 

^  "  Gurdonicus  ":  a  word  said  to  have  been  derived  from  the  name 
of  a  people  in  Spain  noted  for  their  stolidity. 
3  "  Scholasticus." 


38 


DIALOGUES    OF    SULPITIUS    SEVERUS. 


granted  to  the  clerics,  since  indeed  the  pres- 
byters were  seated  in  another  apartment,  either 
spending  their  time  in  mutual  ^  courtesies,  or 
occupied  in  listening  to  affairs  of  business.  But 
Martin  kept  himself  in  his  own  seclusion  up  to 
the  hour  at  which  custom  required  that  the 
sacred  rites  should  be  dispensed  to  the  people. 
And  I  will  not  pass  by  this  point  that,  when 
sitting  in  his  retirement,  he  never  used  a  chair ; 
and,  as  to  the  church,  no  one  ever  saw  him 
sitting  there,  as  I  recently  saw  a  certain  man 
(God  is  my  witness),  not  without  a  feeling  of 
shame  at  the  spectacle,  seated  on  a  lofty  throne, 
yea,  in  its  elevation,  a  kind  of  royal  tribunal ; 
but  Martin  might  be  seen  sitting  on  a  rude  little 
stool,  such  as  tliose  in  use  by  the  lowest  of 
servants,  which  we  Gallic  country-peojDle  call 
tripets^  and  which  you  men  of  learning,  or  those 
at  least  who  are  from  Greece,  call  tripods.  Well, 
that  poor  man  who  had  been  chanced  upon,  as 
the  chief-deacon  delayed  to  give  him  the  gar- 
ment, rushed  into  this  private  apartment  of  the 
blessed  man,  complaining  that  he  had  not  been 
attended  to  by  the  cleric,  and  bitterly  mourning 
over  the  cold  he  suffered.  No  delay  took  place  : 
the  holy  man,  while  the  other  did  not  obsen-e, 
secretly  drew  off  his  tunic  which  was  below  his 
outer  ^  garment,  and  clothing  the  poor  man  with 
this,  told  him  to  go  on  his  way.  Then,  a  little 
after,  the  chief-deacon  coming  in  informs  him, 
according  to  custom,  that  the  people  were  wait- 
ing in  the  church,  and  that  it  was  incumbent  on 
him  to  proceed  to  the  performance  of  the  sacred 
rites.  Martin  said  to  him  in  reply  that  it  was 
necessary  that  the  poor  man  —  referring  to  him- 
self—  should  be  clothed,  and  that  he  could  not 
possibly  proceed  to  the  church,  unless  the  poor 
man  received  a  garment.  But  the  deacon,  not 
understanding  the  true  state  of  the  case  —  that 
Martin,  while  outwardly  clad  with  a  cloak,  was 
not  seen  by  him  to  be  naked  underneath,  at 
last  begins  to  complain  that  the  poor  man  does 
not  make  his  appearance.  '  Let  the  garment 
which  has  been  got  ready,'  said  Martin,  'be 
brought  to  me  ;  there  will  not  be  wanting  the 
poor  man  requiring  to .  be  clothed.'  Then,  at 
length,  the  cleric,  constrained  by  necessity,  and 
now  in  not  the  sweetest  temper,  hurriedly  pro- 
cures a  rough  ^  garment  out  of  the  nearest  shop, 
short  and  shaggy,  and  costing  only  five  pieces 
of  silver,  and  lays  it,  in  wrath,  at  the  feet  of 
Martin.  '  See,'  cries  he,  '  there  is  the  garment, 
but  the  poor  man  is  not  here.'  Martin,  nothing 
moved,  bids  him  go  to  the  door  for  a  litde,  thus 

'  "  salutationibus  vacantes  ":  this  is,  in  the  origitial,  a  very 
confused  and  obscure  sentence. 

-  Halm  edits  "  tripeccias,"  which  may  have  been  the  local 
fatois  for  "  tripetias  "  (ter-pes) ,  corresponding  to  the  Greek  TpiTrou?, 
and  meaning  "  a  three-legged  stool." 

^  "  Amphibalum":  a  late  Latin  word  corresponding  to  the  more 
classical  toga. 

*  "  bigerricam  vestcm." 


obtaining  secrecy,  while,  in  his  nakedness,  he 
clothes  himself  with  the  garment,  striving  with 
all  his  might  to  keep  secret  what  he  had  done. 
But  when  do  such  things  remain  concealed  in 
the  case  of  the  saints  desirina;  that  thev  should 
be  so  ?  "Whether  they  will  or  not,  all  are  brought 
to  light. 


CHAPTER   IL 

"  Martin,  then,  clothed  in  this  garment,  pro- 
ceeds to  offer  the  sacrifice '  to  God.  And  then 
on  that  very  day  —  I  am  about  to  narrate  some- 
thing wonderful  —  when  he  was  engaged  in 
blessing  the  altar,  as  is  usual,  we  beheld  a  globe 
of  fire  dart  from  his  head,  so  that,  as  it  rose  on 
high,  the  flame  produced  a  hair  of  extraordinary 
length.  And,  although  we  saw  this  take  place 
on  a  very  famous  day  in  the  midst  of  a  great 
multitude  of  people,  only  one  of  the  virgins,  one 
of  the  presbyters,  and  only  three  of  the  monks, 
witnessed  the  sight :  but  why  the  others  did  not 
behold  it  is  a  matter  not  to  be  decided  by  our 
judgment. 

"  About  the  same  time,  when  my  uncle  Evan- 
thius,  a  highly  Christian  man,  although  occupied 
in  the  affairs  of  this  world,  had  begun  to  be 
afflicted  with  a  very  serious  illness,  to  the  ex- 
treme danger  of  his  life,  he  sent  for  ^Lartin. 
And,  without  any  delay,  ^Martin  hastened  towards 
him ;  but,  before  the  blessed  man  had  com- 
pleted the  half  of  the  distance  between  them, 
the  sick  man  experienced  the  power  of  him  that 
was  coming ;  and,  being  immediately  restored 
to  health,  he  himself  met  us  as  we  were  ap- 
proaching. With  many  entreaties,  he  detained 
Martin,  who  wished  to  return  home  on  the  fol- 
lowing day  ;  for,  in  the  meantime,  a  serpent  had 
struck  with  a  deadly  blow  a  boy  belonging  to 
my  uncle's  family ;  and  Evanthius  himself,  on 
his  own  shoulders,  carried  him  all  but  lifeless 
through  the  force  of  the  poison,  and  laid  him  at 
the  feet  of  the  holy  man,  believing  that  nothing 
was  impossible  to  him.  By  this  time,  the  ser- 
pent had  diffused  its  poison  through  all  the 
.members  of  the  boy :  one  could  see  his  skin 
swollen  in  all  his  veins,  and  his  vitals  strung  up 
like  a  leather-bottle.  Martin  stretched  forth 
his  hand,  felt  all  the  limbs  of  the  boy,  and 
placed  his  finger  close  to  the  little  wound,  at 
which  the  animal  had  instilled  the  poison. 
Then  in  truth  —  I  am  going  to  tell  things  won- 
derful—  we  saw  the  whole  poison,  drawn  from 
every  part  of  the  body,  gather  quickly  together 
to  Martin's  finger ;  and  next,  we  beheld  the 
poison  mixed  with  blood  press  through  the 
small  puncture  of  the  wound,  just  as  a  long  line 

^  "  oblaturus  sacrificium." 


DIALOGUES    OF    SULPITIUS    SEVERUS. 


of  abundant  milk  is  wont  to  flow  forth  from  the 
teats  of  goats  or  sheep,  when  these  are  squeezed 
by  the  hand  of  shepherds.  The  boy  rose  up  quite 
welL  We  were  amazed  by  so  striking  a  miracle  ; 
and  we  acknowledged  —  as,  indeed,  truth  com- 
pelled us  to  do  —  that  there  was  no  one  imder 
heaven  who  could  equal  the  deeds  of  Martin. 


CHAPTER     III. 

"  In  the  same  way,  some  time  afterAvards,  we 
made  a  journey  with  him  while  he  visited  the 
various  parishes  in  his  diocese.  He  had  gone 
forward  a  little  by  himself,  some  necessity  or 
other,  I  know  not  what,  compelling  us  to  keep 
behind.  In  the  meantime,  a  state-conveyance, 
full  of  military  men,  was  coming  along  the  pub- 
lic highwav.  But  when  the  animals  near  the 
side  beheld  IMartin  in  his  shaggy  garment,  with 
a  long  black  cloak  over  it,  being  alarmed,  they 
swerved  a  little  in  the  opposite  direction.  Then, 
the  reins  getting  entangled,  they  threw  into  con- 
fusion those  extended  lines  in  which,  as  you 
have  often  seen,  those  wretched  creatures  are 
held  together  ;  and  as  they  were  with  difficulty 
rearranged,  delay,  of  course,  was  caused  to  those 
people  hastening  forward.  Enraged  by  this  in- 
jury, the  soldiers,  with  hasty  leaps,  made  for  the 
ground.  And  then  they  began  to  belabor  Mar- 
tin with  whips  and  staves  ;  and  as  he,  in  silence 
and  with  incredible  patience,  submitted  his  back 
to  them  smiting  him,  this  roused  the  greater 
fury  in  these  wretches,  for  they  became  all  the 
more  violent  from  the  fact,  that  he,  as  if  he  did 
not  feel  the  blows  showered  upon  him,  seemed 
to  despise  them.  He  fell  almost  lifeless  to  the 
earth ;  and  we,  ere  long,  found  him  covered 
with  blood,  and  wounded  in  every  part  of  his 
body.  Lifting  him  up  without  delay,  and  plac- 
ing him  upon  his  own  ass,  while  we  execrated 
the  place  of  that  cruel  bloodshed,  we  hastened 
off  as  speedily  as  possible.  In  the  meantime, 
the  soldiers  having  returned  to  their  conveyance, 
after  their  fury  was  satisfied,  urge  the  beasts  to 
proceed  in  the  direction  in  which  they  had  been 
going.  But  they  all  remained  fixed  to  the  spot, 
as  stiiT  as  if  they  had  been  brazen  statues,  and 
although  their  masters  shouted  at  them,  and  the 
sound  of  their  whips  echoed  on  every  side,  still 
the  animals  never  moved.  These  men  next  all 
fall  to  \vith  lashes;  in  fact,  while  punishing  the 
mules,  they  waste  all  the  Gallic  whips  they  had. 
The  whole  of  the  neighboring  wood  is  laid  hold 
of,  and  the  beasts  are  beaten  with  enormous 
cudgels ;  but  these  cruel  hands  still  effected 
nothing  :  the  animals  continued  to  stand  in  one 
and  the  same  place  hke  fixed  effigies.  The 
wretched  men  knew  not  what  to  do,  and  they 
could  no  longer  conceal  from  themselves  that. 


in  some  way  or  other,  there  was  a  higher  power 
at  work  in  the  bosoms  of  these  brutes,  so  that 
they  were,  in  fact,  restrained  by  the  interposition 
of  a  deity.  At  length,  therefore,  returning  to 
themselves,  they  began  to  enquire  who  he  was 
whom  but  a  little  before  they  had  scourged  at 
the  same  place ;  and  when,  on  pursuing  the 
investigation,  they  ascertained  from  those  on 
the  way  that  it  was  Martin  who  had  been  so 
cruelly  beaten  by  them,  then,  indeed,  the  cause 
of  their  misfortune  appeared  manifest  to  all ; 
and  they  could  no  longer  doubt  that  they  were 
kept  back  on  account  of  the  injury  done  to  that 
man.  Accordingly,  they  all  rush  after  us  at  full 
speed,  and,  conscious  of  what  they  had  done 
and  deserved,  overwhelmed  with  shame,  weep- 
ing, and  having  their  heads  and  faces  smeared* 
with  the  dust  with  which  they  themselves  had 
besprinkled  their  bodies,  they  cast  themselves 
at  Martin's  feet,  imploring  his  pardon,  and 
begging  that  he  would  allow  them  to  proceed. 
They  added  that  they  had  been  sufficiently  pun- 
ished by  their  conscience  alone,  and  that  they 
deeply  felt  that  the  earth  might  swallow  them 
alive  in  that  very  spot,  or  that  rather,  they,  losing 
all  sense,  might  justly  be  stiffened  into  immov- 
able rocks,  just  as  they  had  seen  their  beasts  of 
burden  fixed  to  the  places  in  which  they  stood  ; 
but  they  begged  and  entreated  him  to  extend 
to  them  pardon  for  their  crime,  and  to  allow 
them  to  go  on  their  way.  The  blessed  man  had 
been  aware,  before  they  came  up  to  us,  that  they 
were  in  a  state  of  detention,  and  had  already 
informed  us  of  the  fact ;  however,  he  kindly 
granted  them  forgiveness ;  and,  restoring  their 
animals,  permitted  them  to  pursue  their  journey. 


CHAPTER   IV. 

"  I  HAVE  often  noticed  this,  Sulpitius,  that 
Martin  was  accustomed  to  say  to  you,  that  such 
an  abundance  ^  of  power  was  by  no  means 
granted  him  while  he  was  a  bishop,  as  he  re- 
membered to  have  possessed  before  he  obtained 
that  office.  Now,  if  this  be  true,  or  rather  since 
it  is  true,  we  may  imagine  how  great  those 
things  were  which,  while  still  a  monk,  he  ac- 
complished, and  which,  without  any  witness,  he 
effected  apart  by  himself;  since  we  have  seen 
that,  while  a  bishop,  he  performed  so  great  won- 
ders' before  the  eyes  of  all.  Many,  no  doubt,  of 
his  former  achievements  were  known  to  the 
world,  and  could  not  be  hid,  but  those  are  said 
to  have  been  innumerable  which,  while  he 
avoided  boastfulness,  he  kept  concealed  and 
did  not  allow  to  come  to  the  knowledge  of  man- 
kind ;  for,  inasmuch  as  he  transcended  the  capa- 

1  "  earn  virtutum  gratiam." 


40 


DIALOGUES    OF    SULPITIUS    SEVERUS. 


bilities  of  mere  man,  in  a  consciousness  of  his 
own  eminence,  and  trampling  upon  worldly 
glory,  he  was  content  simply  to  have  heaven  as 
a  witness  of  his  deeds.  That  this  is  true  we 
can  judge  even  from  these  things  which  are  well 
known  to  us,  and  could  not  be  hid ;  since  e.g. 
before  he  became  a  bishop  he  restored  two  dead 
men  to  life,  facts  of  which  your  book  has  treated 
pretty  fully,  but,  while  he  was  bishop,  he  raised 
up  only  one,  a  point  which  I  am  surprised  you 
have  not  noticed.  I  myself  am  a  witness  to  this 
latter  occurrence  ;  but,  probably,  you  have  no 
doubts  about  the  matter  being  duly  testified. 
At  any  rate,  I  will  set  before  you  the  affair  as  it 
happened.  For  some  reason,  I  know  not  what, 
we  were  on  our  way  to  the  town  of  the  Carnutes.- 
In  the  meantime,  as  we  pass  by  a  certain  village 
most  populous  in  inhabitants,  an  enormous  crowd 
went  forth  to  meet  us,  consisting  entirely  of 
heathen ;  for  no  one  in  that  village  was  ac- 
quainted with  a  Christian.  Nevertheless,  owing 
to  the  report  of  the  approach  of  so  great  a  man, 
a  multitude  of  those  streaming  to  one  point  had 
filled  all  the  widely  spreading  plains.  Martin 
felt  that  some  work  was  to  be  performed  ;  and 
as  the  spirit  within  him  was  thus  moving  him, 
he  was  deeply  excited.  He  at  once  began  to 
preach  to  the  heathen  the  word  of  God,  so 
utterly  different  from  that  of  man,  often  groaning 
that  so  great  a  crowd  should  be  ignorant  of  the 
Lord  the  Saviour.  Li  the  meantime,  while  an 
incredible  multitude  had  surrounded  us,  a  cer- 
tain woman,  whose  son  had  recently  died,  began 
to  present,  with  outstretched  hands,  the  lifeless 
body  to  the  blessed  man,  saying,  "We  know 
that  you  are  a  friend  of  God  :  restore  me  my 
son,  who  is  my  only  one."  The  rest  of  the  mul- 
titude joined  her,  and  added  their  entreaties  to 
those  of  the  mother.  Martin  perceiving,  as  he 
afterwards  told  us,  that  he  could  manifest  power, 
in  order  to  the  salvation  of  those  waiting  for  its 
display,  received  the  body  of  the  deceased  into 
his  own  hands ;  and  when,  in  the  sight  of  all,  he 
had  fallen  on  his  knees,  and  then  arose,  after 
his  prayer  was  finished,  he  restored  to  its  mother 
the  child  brought  back  to  fife.  Then,  truly,  the 
whole  multitude,  raising  a  shout  to  heaven,  ac- 
knowletlged  Christ  as  God,  and  finally  began  to 
rush  in  crowds  to  the  knees  of  the  blessed  man, 
sincerely  imploring  that  he  would  make  them 
Christians.  Nor  did  he  delay  to  do  so.  As 
they  were  in  the  middle  of  the  plain,  he  made 
them  all  catechumens,  by  placing  his  hand  upon 
the  whole  of  them  ;  while,  at  the  same  time, 
turning  to  us,  he  said  that,  not  without  reason, 
were  these  made  catechumens  in  that  plain 
where  the  martyrs  were  wont  to  be  consecrated." 


-  The  Carnutes  dwelt  on  both  sides  of  the  Loire,  and  their  chief 
town,  here  referred  to,  was  Autricum,  now  Chartres. 


CHAPTER   V. 

"You  have  conquered,  O  Gaul,"  said  Postu- 
mianus,  "  you  have  conquered,  although  cer- 
tainly not  me,  who  am,  on  the  contrary,  an 
upholder  of  Martin,  and  who  have  always  known 
and  believed  all  these  things  about  that  man ; 
but  you  have  conquered  all  the  eremites  and 
anchorites.  For  no  one  of  them,  like  your 
friend,  or  rather  our  friend,  Martin,  ruled  over 
deaths  of  alP  kinds.  And  Sulpitius  there  justly 
compared  him  to  the  apostles  and  prophets, 
inasmuch  as  the  power  of  his  faith,  and  the 
works  accomplished  by  his  power,  bear  witness 
that  he  was,  in  all  points,  like  them.  But  go 
on,  I  beg  of  you,  although  we  can  hear  nothing 
more  striking  than  we  have  heard  —  still,  go  on, 
O  Gaul,  to  set  forth  what  still  remains  of  what 
you  have  to  say  concerning  Martin.  For  the 
mind  is  eager  to  know  even  the  least  and  com- 
monest of  his  doings,  since  there  is  no  doubt 
that  the  least  of  his  actions  surpass  the  greatest 
deeds  of  others." 

"  I  will  do  so,"  replies  the  Gaul,  "  but  I  did 
not  myself  witness  what  I  am  about  to  relate, 
for  it  took  place  before  I  became  an  associate 
of  Martin's  ;  still,  the  fact  is  well  known,  having 
been  spread  through  the  world  by  the  accounts 
given  by  faithful  brethren,  who  were  present  on 
the  occasion.  Well,  just  about  the  time  when 
he  first  became  a  bishop,  a  necessity  arose  for 
his  visiting  the  imperial"  court.  Valentinian, 
the  elder,  then  was  at  the  head  of  affairs. 
When  he  came  to  know  that  Martin  was  asking 
for  things  which  he  did  not  incline  to  grant,  he 
ordered  him  to  be  kept  from  entering  the  doors 
of  the  palace.  Besides  his  own  unkind  and 
haughty  temper,  his  wife  Arriana  had  urged 
him  to  this  course,  and  had  wholly  alienated 
him  from  the  holy  man,  so  that  he  should  not 
show  him  the  regard  which  was  due  to  him. 
Martin,  accordingly,  when  he  had  once  and 
again  endeavored  to  procure  an  interview  with 
the  haughty  prince,  had  recourse  to  his  well- 
known  weapons  —  he  clothes  himself  in  sack- 
cloth, scatters  ashes  upon  his  person,  abstains 
from  food  and  drink,  and  gives  himself,  night 
and  day,  to  continuous  prayer.  On  the  seventh 
day,  an  angel  appeared  to  him,  and  tells  him  to 
go  with  confidence  to  the  palace,  for  that  the 
royal  doors,  although  closed  against  him,  would 
open  of  their  own  accord,  and  that  the  haughty 
spirit  of  the  emperor  would  be  softened.  Mar- 
tin, therefore,  being  encouraged  by  the  address 
of  the  angel  who  thus  appeared  to  him,  and 
trusting  to  his  assistance,  went  to  the  palace. 
The  doors  stood  open,  and  no  one  opposed  his 

«  "  mortibus." 

-  "  adire  comitatum":  this  is  a  common  meaning  oi  comztatus 
in  writers  of  the  period. 


DIALOGUES   OF   SULPITIUS   SEVERUa 


41 


entrance  ;  so  that,  going  in,  he  came  at  last  into 
the  presence  of  the  king,  without  any  one  seek- 
ing to  hinder  him.  The  king,  however,  seeing 
him  at  a  distance  as  he  approached,  and  gnash- 
ing his  teeth  that  he  had  been  admitted,  did  not, 
by  any  means,  condescend  to  rise  up  as  Martin 
advanced,  until  fire  covered  the  royal  seat,  and 
until  the  flames  seized  on  a  part  of  the  royal 
person.  In  this  way  the  haughty  monarch  is 
driven  from  his  throne,  and,  much  against  his 
will,  rises  up  to  receive  Martin.  He  even  gave 
many  embraces  to  the  man  whom  he  had 
formerly  determined  to  despise,  and,  coming  to 
a  better  frame  of  mind,  he  confessed  that  he 
perceived  the  exercise  of  Divine  power  ;  without 
waiting  even  to  listen  to  the  requests  of  Martin, 
he  granted  all  he  desired  before  being  asked. 
Afterwards  the  king  often  invited  the  holy  man 
both  to  conferences  and  entertainments  ;  and, 
in  the  end,  when  he  was  about  to  depart,  offered 
him  many  presents,  which,  however,  the  blessed 
man,  jealously  maintaining  his  own  poverty, 
totally  refused,  as  he  did  on  all  similar  occa- 
sions. 


CHAPTER  VI. 

"  And  as  we  have,  once  for  all,  entered  the 
palace,  I  shall  string  together  events  which  there 
took  place,  although  they  happened  at  different 
times.  And,  indeed,  it  does  not  seem  to  me 
right  that  I  should  pass  unmentioned  the  ex- 
ample of  admiration  for  Martin  which  was 
shown  by  a  faithful  queen.  Maximus  then  ruled 
the  state,  a  man  worthy  of  being  extolled  in^  his 
whole  life,  if  only  he  had  been  permitted  to  re- 
ject a  crown  thrust  upon  him  by  the  soldiery  in 
an  illegal  tumult,  or  had  been  able  to  keep  out  of 
civil  war.  But  the  fact  is,  that  a  great  empire 
can  neither  be  refused  without  danger,  nor  can 
be  preserved  without  war.  He  frequently  sent 
for  Martin,  received  him  into  the  palace,  and 
treated  him  with  honor ;  his  whole  speech  with 
him  was  concerning  things  present,  things  to 
come,  the  glory  of  the  faithful,  and  the  immor- 
taUty  of  the  saints ;  while,  in  the  meantime,  the 
queen  hung  upon  the  lips  of  Martin,  and  not 
inferior  to  her  mentioned  in  the  Gospel,  washed 
the  feet  of  the  holy  man  with  tears  and  wiped 
them  with  the  hairs  of  her  head.  Martin, 
though  no  woman  had  hitherto  touched  him, 
could  not  escape  her  assiduity,  or  rather  her 
servile  attentions.  She  did  not  think  of  the 
wealth  of  the  kingdom,  the  dignity  of  the  em- 
pire, the  crown,  or  the  purple ;  only  stretched 
upon  the  ground,  she  could  not  be  torn  away 
from  the  feet  of  Martin.     At  last  she  begs  of 

^  Halm's  text  is  here  followed.  The  older  texts,  which  read  "  vir 
Omni  vitae  merito  praedicandus,"  seem  hardly  intelligible. 


her  husband  (saying  that  both  of  them  should 
constrain  Martin  to  agree)  that  all  other  attend- 
ants should  be  removed  from  the  holy  man,  and 
that  she  alone  should  wait  upon  him  at  meals. 
Nor  could  the  blessed  man  refuse  too  obsti- 
nately. His  modest  entertainment  is  got  up  by 
the  hands  of  the  queen  ;  she  herself  arranges 
his  seat  for  him ;  places  his  table ;  furnishes 
him  with  water  for  his  hands  ;  and  serves  up  the 
food  which  she  had  herself  cooked.  While  he 
was  eating,  she,  with  her  eyes  fixed  on  the 
gro.und,  stood  motionless  at  a  distance,  after 
the  fashion  of  servants,  displaying  in  all  points 
the  modesty  and  hamility  of  a  ministering  ser- 
vant. She  herself  mixed  for  him  his  drink  and 
presented  it.  When  the  meal  was  over,  she 
collected  the  fragments  and  crumbs  of  the 
bread  that  had  been  used,  preferring  with  true 
faithfulness  these  remains  to  imperial  banquets. 
Blessed  woman  !  worthy,  by  the  display  of  so 
great  piety,  of  being  compared  to  her  who  came 
from  the  ends  of  the  earth  to  hear  Solomon,  if 
we  merely  regard  the  plain  letter  of  the  history. 
But  the  faith  of  the  two  queens  is  to  be  com- 
pared (and  let  it  be  granted  me  to  say  this, 
setting  aside  the  majesty  of  the  secret^  truth 
implied):  the  one  obtained  her  desire  to  hear 
a  wise  man  ;  the  other  was  thought  worthy  not 
only  to  hear  a  wise  man,  but  to  wait  upon 
him." 


CHAPTER  VII. 

To  these  sayings  Postumianus  replies  :  "  While 
listening  to  you,  O  Gaul,  I  have  for  a  long  time 
been  admiring  the  faith  of  the  queen ;  but  to 
what  does  that  statement  of  yours  lead,  that  no 
woman  was  ever  said  to  have  stood  more  close 
to  Martin?  For  let  us  consider  that  that  queen 
not  only  stood  near  him,  but  even  ministered 
unto  him.  I  really  fear  lest  those  persons  who 
freely  mingle  among  women  should  to  some  ex- 
tent defend  themselves  by  that  example." 

Then  said  the  Gaul :  "  Why  do  you  not  notice, 
as  grammarians  are  wont  to  teach  us,  the  place, 
the  time,  and  the  person?  For  only  set  before 
)'our  eyes  the  picture  of  one  kept  in  the  palace 
of  the  emperor  importuned  by  prayers,  con- 
strained by  the  faith  of  the  queen,  and  bound 
by  the  necessities  of  the  time,  to  do  his  utmost 
that  he  might  set  free  those  shut  up  in  prison, 
might  restore  those  who  had  been  sent  into 
exile,  and  might  recover  goods  that  had  been 
taken  away,  —  of  how  much  importance  do  you 
think  that  these  things  should  have  appeared  to 
a  bishop,  so  as  to  lead  him,  in  order  to  the 
accomplishment  of  them  all,  to  abate  not  a  lit- 
tle of  the  rigor  of  his  general  scheme  of  life? 

^  "  Quod  mihi  liceat  separata  mysterii  majestate  dixisse." 


42 


JDIALOGUES   OF    SULPITIUS    SEVERUS. 


However,  as  you  think  that  some  will  make  a 
bad  use  of  the  example  thus  furnished  them,  I 
shall  only  say  that  those  will  be  truly  happy  if 
they  do  not  fall  short  of  the  excellence  of  the 
example  in  question.  For  let  them  consider 
that  the  facts  of  the  case  are  these  :  once  in 
his  life  only,  and  that  when  in  his  seventieth 
year,  was  Martin  served  and  waited  upon  at  his 
meals,  not  by  a  free  sort  of  widow,  nor  by  a 
wanton  virgin,  but  by  a  queen,  who  lived  under 
the  authority  of  a  husband,  and  who  was  sup- 
ported in  her  conduct  by  the  entreaties  of  .her 
husband,  that  she  might  be  allowed  so  to  act. 
It  is  further  to  be  observed  that  she  did  not  re- 
cline with  Martin  at  the  entertainment,  nor  did 
she  venture  even  to  partake  in  the  feast,  but 
simply  gave  her  services  in  waiting  upon  him. 
Learn,  therefore,  the  proper  course ;  let  a  ma- 
tron serve  thee,  and  not  rule  thee ;  and  let 
her  serve,  but  not  recline  along  with  thee  ;  just 
as  Martha,  of  whom  we  read,  waited  upon  the 
Lord  without  being  called  to  partake  in  the 
feast :  nay,  she  who  chose  rather  simply  to  hear 
the  word  was  preferred  to  her  that  served.  But 
in  the  case  of  Martin,  the  queen  spoken  of  ful- 
filled both  parts  :  she  both  served  like  Martha, 
and  listened  like  Mary.  If  any  one,  then,  de- 
sires to  make  use  of  this  example,  let  him  keep 
to  it  in  all  particulars ;  let  the  cause  be  the 
same,  the  person  the  same,  the  service  the 
same,  and  the  entertainment  the  same,  —  and 
let  the  thing  occur  once  only  in  one's  whole  life." 


CHAPITER  VIII. 

"ADMIR.A.BLY,"  exclaimed  Postumianus,  "does 
your  speech  bind  those  friends  of  ours  from 
going  beyond  the  example  of  Martin  ;  but  I  own 
to  you  my  belief  that  these  remarks  of  yours  will 
fall  upon  deaf  ears.  For  if  we  were  to  follow  the 
ways  of  Martin,  we  should  never  need  to  defend 
ourselves  in  the  case  of  kissing,  and  we  should  be 
free  from  all  the  reproaches  of  sinister  opinion. 
But  as  you  are  wont  to  say,  when  you  are  ac- 
cused of  being  too  fond  of  eating,  '  We  are 
Gauls,'  so  we,  for  our  part,  who  dwell  in  this 
district,  will  never  be  reformed  either  by  the  ex- 
ample of  Martin,  or  by  your  dissertations.  But 
while  we  have  been  discussing  these  points  at  so 
great  length,  why  do  you,  Sulpitius,  preserve  such 
an  obstinate  silence?" 

"  Well,  for  my  part,"  replied  I,  "  I  not  only 
keep  silence,  but  for  a  long  time  past  I  have 
determined  to  be  silent  upon  such  points.  For, 
because  I  rebuked  a  certain  spruce  gadding- 
about  widow,  who  dressed  expensively,  and 
lived  in  a  somewhat  loose  manner,  and  also  a 
virgin,  who  was  following  somewhat  indecently 
a  certain  young  man  who  was  dear  to  me,  —  al- 


though, to  be  sure,  I  had  often  heard  her  blam- 
ing others  who  acted  in  such  a  manner,  —  I 
raised  up  against  me  such  a  degree  of  hatred  on 
the  part  of  all  the  women  and  all  the  monks, 
that  both  bands  entered  upon  sworn  war  against 
me.  Wherefore,  be  quiet,  I  beg  of  you,  lest 
even  what  we  are  saying  should  tend  to  increase 
their  animosity  towards  me.  Let  us  entirely  blot 
out  these  people  from  our  memory,  and  let  us 
rather  return  to  Martin.  Do  thou,  friend  Gaul, 
as  you  have  begun,  carry  out  the  work  you  have 
taken  in  hand.." 

Then  says  he :  "I  have  really  related  al- 
ready so  many  things  to  you,  that  my  speech 
ought  to  have  satisfied  your  desires  ;  but,  because 
I  am  not  at  liberty  to  refuse  compliance  with 
your  wishes,  I  shall  continue  to  speak  as  long  as 
the  day  lasts.  For,  in  truth,  when  I  glance  at 
that  straw,  which  is  being  prepared  for  our  beds, 
there  comes  into  my  mind  a  recollection  re- 
specting the  straw  on  which  Martin  had  lain, 
that  a  miracle  was  wrought  in  connection  with 
it.  The  affair  took  place  as  follows.  Claudio- 
raagus  is  a  village  on  the  confines  of  the  Bituri- 
ges  and  the  Turoni.  The  church  there  is  cele- 
brated for  the  piety  of  the  saints,  and  is  not  less 
illustrious  for  the  multitude  of  the  holy  virgins. 
Well,  Martin,  being  in  the  habit  of  passing  that 
way,  had  an  apartment  in  the  private  part  of  the 
church.  After  he  left,  all  the  virgins  used  to 
rush  into  that  retirement :  they  kiss^  every  place 
where  the  blessed  man  had  either  sat  or  stood, 
and  distribute  among  themselves  the  very  straw 
on  which  he  had  lain.  One  of  them,  a  few  days 
afterwards,  took  a  part  of  the  straw  which  she 
had  collected  for  a  blessing  to  herself,  and  hung 
it  from  the  neck  of  a  possessed  person,  whom  a 
spirit  of  error  was  troubling.  There  was  no 
delay ;  but  sooner  than  one  could  speak  the 
demon  was  cast  out,  and  the  person  was  cured. 


CHAPTER   IX. 

"  About  the  same  time,  a  cow  which  a  demon 
harassed  met  Martin  as  he  was  returning  from 
Treves.  That  cow,  leaving  its  proper  herd,  was 
accustomed  to  attack  human  beings,  and  had 
already  seriously  gored  many  with  its  horns. 
Now,  when  she  was  coming  near  us,  those  who 
followed  her  from  a  distance  began  to  warn  us, 
with  a  loud  voice,  to  beware  of  her.  But  after 
she  hati  in  great  fury  come  pretty  near  to  us, 
with  rage  in  her  eyes,  Martin,  lifting  up  his 
hand,  ordered  the  animal  to  halt,  and  she  im- 
mediately stood  stock-still  at  his  word.  Upon 
this,  Martin  perceived  a  demon  sitting  upon  her 
back,  and  reproving  it,  he  exclaimed,  '  Begone, 

1  "adlambuut";  perhaps  only  "  touch." 


DIALOGUES    OF    SULPITIUS    SEVERUS. 


43 


thou  deadly  being  ;  leave  the  innocent  beast,  and 
cease  any  longer  to  torment  it.'  The  evil  spirit 
obeyed  and  departed.  And  the  heifer  had  sense 
enough  to  understand  that  she  was  set  free  ;  for, 
peace  being  restored  to  her,  she  fell  at  the  feet 
of  the  holy  man  ;  and  on  Martin  directing  her, 
she  made  for  her  own  herd,  and,  quieter  than 
any  sheep,  she  joined  the  rest  of  the  band. 
This  also  was  the  time  at  which  he  had  no  sen- 
sation of  being  burnt,  although  placed  in  the 
midst  of  the  flames  ;  but  I  do  not  think  it  nec- 
essarv  for  me  to  give  an  account  of  this,  because 
Sulpitius  there,  though  passing  over  it  in  his 
book,  has  nevertheless  pretty  fully  narrated  it  in 
the  epistle  which  he  sent  to  Eusebius,  who  was 
then  a  presbyter,  and  is  now  a  bishop.  I  believe, 
Postumianus,  you  have  either  read  this  letter,  or, 
if  it  is  still  unknown  to  you,  you  may  easily  ob- 
tain it,  when  you  please,  from  the  bookcase. 
I  shall  simply  narrate  particulars  which  he  has 
omitted. 

"  Well,  on  a  certain  occasion,  when  he  was 
going  round  the  various  parishes,  we  came  upon 
a  band  of  huntsmen.  The  dogs  were  pursuing 
a  hare,  and  the  little  animal  was  already  much 
exhausted  by  the  long  run  it  had  had.  When 
it  perceived  no  means  of  escape  in  the  plains 
spreading  for  on  every  side,  and  was  several 
times  just  on  the  point  of  being  captured,  it  tried 
to  delay  the  threatened  death  by  frequent  doub- 
lings. Now  the  blessed  man  pitied  the  danger 
of  the  creature  with  pious  feelings,  and  com- 
manded the  dogs  to  give  up  following  it,  and  to 
permit  it  to  get  safe  away.  Instantly,  at  the 
first  command  they  heard,  they  stood  quite 
still :  one  might  have  thought  them  bound,  or 
rather  arrested,  so  as  to  stand  immovable  in 
their  own  footprints.  In  this  way,  through  her 
pursuers  being  stopped  as  if  tied  together,  the 
hare  got  safe  away. 


CHAPTER  X. 

"  Moreover,  it  will  be  worth  while  to  relate 
also  some  of  his  familiar  sayings,  since  they 
were  all  salted  with  spiritual  instruction.  He 
happened  to  see  a  sheep  ^  that  had  recently 
been  sheared  ;  and,  '  See,'  says  he,  '  she  has 
fulfilled  the  precept  of  the  Gospel :  she  had  two 
coats,  and  one  of  them  she  has  given  to  him 
who  had  none  :  thus,  therefore,  ye  ought  also  to 
do.'  Also,  when  he  perceived  a  swineherd  in 
a  garment  of  skin,  cold  and,  in  flict,  all  but 
naked,  he  exclaimed  :  '  Look  at  Adam,  cast  out 
of  Paradise,  how  he  feeds  his  swine  in  a  gar- 
ment of  skin  ;  but  let  us,  laying  aside  that  old 
Adam,  who  still  remains  in  that  man,  rather  put 

'  Halm  has  here  an  unintelligible  repding,  probably  a  misprint 
—  "  quem  recens  tonsara  forte  conspexerat." 


on  the  new  Adam.'  Oxen  had,  in  one  part, 
eaten  up  the  grass  of  the  meadows ;  \ngs  also 
had  dug  up  some  portions  of  them  with  their 
snouts ;  while  the  remaining  portion,  which 
continued  uninjured,  flourished,  as  if  painted 
with  variously  tinted  flowers.  '  That  part,'  said 
he,  '  which  has  been  eaten  down  by  cattle,  al- 
though it  has  not  altogether  lost  the  beauty  of 
grass,  yet  retains  no  grandeur  of  flowers,  con- 
veys to  us  a  representation  of  marriage  ;  that 
part,  again,  which  the  pigs,  unclean  animals,  had 
dug  up,  presents  a  loathsome  picture  of  fornica- 
tion ;  while  the  remaining  portion,  which  had 
sustained  no  injury,  sets  forth  the  glory  of  vir- 
ginity ;  —  it  flourishes  with  abundance  of  grass  ; 
the  fruits  of  the  field  abound  in  it ;  and,  decked 
with  flowers  to  the  very  extreme  of  beauty,  it 
shines  as  if  adorned  with  glittering  gems. 
Blessed  is  such  beauty  and  worthy  of  God  ;  for 
nothing  is  to  be  compared  with  virginity.  Thus, 
then,  those  who  set  marriage  side  by  side  with 
fornication  grievously  err  ;  and  those  who  think 
that  marriage  is  to  be  placed  on  an  equal  foot- 
ing with  virginity  are  utterly  wretched  and 
foolish.  But  this  distinction  must  be  maintained 
by  wise  people,  that  marriage  belongs  to  those 
things  which  may  be  excused,  while  virginity 
points  to  glory,  and  fornication  must  incur  pun- 
ishment unless  its  guilt  is  purged  away  through 
atonement.' 


CHAPTER   XL 

"  A  CERTAIN  soldier  had  renounced  the  mili- 
tary ^  life  in  the  Church,  having  professed  him- 
self a  monk,  and  had  erected  a  cell  for  himself 
at  a  distance  in  the  desert,  as  if  with  the  pur- 
pose of  leading  the  life  of  an  eremite.  But 
in  course  of  time  the  crafty  adversary  harassed 
his  unspiritual-  nature  with  various  thoughts,  to 
the  effect  that,  changing  his  mind,  he  should 
express  a  desire  that  his  wife,  whom  ^Martin  had 
ordered  to  have  a  place  in  the  nunnery  ^  of  the 
young  women,  should  rather  dwell  along  with 
him.  The  courageous  eremite,  therefore,  visits 
Martin,  and  makes  known  to  him  what  he  had 
in  his  mind.  But  Martin  denied  very  strongly 
that  a  woman  could,  in  inconsistent  fashion,  be 
joined  again  to  a  man  who  was  now  a  monk, 
and  not  a  husband.  At  last,  when  the  soldier 
was  insisting  on  the  point  in  question ;  asserting 
that  no  evil  would  follow  from  carrying  out  his 
purpose  ;  that  he  simply  desired  to  possess  the 
solace  of  his  wife's  company ;  and  that  there 
was  no  fear  of  his   again  returning  to  his  own 

1  "cingulum":  lit.  a  girdle,  or  sword-belt.,  and  then  put  for 
military  service. 

2  "  brutum  pectus":  the  words  seem  to  refer  to  the  man  as 
»//v;^tKb?,  in  opposition  to  Tri'eujaaTt/cb?. 

2  "  monasterio." 


44 


DIALOGUES    OF    SULPITIUS    SEVERUS. 


pursuits  ;  adding  that  he  was  a  soldier  of  Christ, 
and  that  she  also  had  taken  the  oath  of  alle- 
giance in  the  same  service;  and  that  the  bishop 
therefore  should  allow  to  serve  as  soldiers  to- 
gether people  who  were  saints,  and  who,  in  vir- 
tue of  their  faith,  totally  ignored  the  question  of 
sex,  —  then  Martin  (I  am  going  to  repeat  his 
Very  words  to  you)  exclaimed  :  '  Tell  me  if  you 
have  ever  been  in  war,  and  if  you  have  ever 
stood  in  the  line  of  battle?'  In  answer  he 
said,  '  Frequently ;  I  have  often  stood  in  line  of 
battle,  and  been  present  in  war.'  On  this 
Martin  replies  :  '  Well,  then,  tell  me,  did  you 
ever  in  a  line  which  was  prepared  with  arms 
for  battle,  or,  having  already  advanced  near, 
was  fighting  against  a  hostile  army  with  drawn 
sword  —  did  you  ever  see  any  woman  standing 
there,  or  fighting  ?  '  Then  at  length  the  soldier 
became  confused  and  blushed,  while  he  gave 
thanks  that  he  had  not  been  permitted  to  fol- 
low his  own  evil  counsel,  and  at  the  same  time 
had  not  been  put  right  by  the  use  of  any  harsh 
language,  but  by  a  true  and  rational  analogy, 
connected  with  the  person  of  a  soldier.  Mar- 
tin, for  his  part,  turning  to  us  (for  a  great 
crowd  of  brethren  had  surrounded  him),  said  : 
'  Let  not  a  woman  enter  the  camp  of  men,  but 
let  the  line  of  soldiers  remain  separate,  and  let 
the  females,  dwelling  in  their  own  tent,  be  re- 
mote from  that  of  men.  For  this  renders  an 
army  ridiculous,  if  a  female  crowd  is  mixed  with 
the  regiments  of  men.  Let  the  soldier  occupy 
the  line,  let  the  soldier  fight  in  the  plain,  but 
let  the  woman  keep  herself  within  the  protection 
of  the  walls.  She,  too,  certainly  has  her  own 
glory,  if,  when  her  husband  is  absent,  she  main- 
tains her  chastity ;  and  the  first  excellence,  as 
well  as  completed  victory  of  that,  is,  that  she 
should  not  be  seen.' 


CHAPTER   XIL 

"  I  RELIEVE,  my  dear  Sulpitius,  that  you  re- 
member with  what  emphasis  he  extolled  to  us 
(when  you  too  were  present)  that  virgin  who 
had  so  completely  withdrawn  herself  from  the 
eyes  of  all  men,  that  she  did  not  admit  to  her 
presence  Martin  himself,  when  he  wished  to  visit 
her  in  the  discharge  of  duty.  For  when  he  was 
passing  by  the  little  property,  within  which  for 
several  years  she  had  chastely  confined  herself, 
having  heard  of  her  faith  and  excellence,  he 
turned  out  of  his  way  that,  as  a  bishop,  he  might 
honor,  with  pious  respect,  a  girl  of  such  eminent 
merit.  We  who  journeyed  with  him  thought 
that  that  virgin  would  rejoice,  inasmuch  as  she 
was  to  obtain  such  a  testimony  to  her  virtue, 
while  a  priest  of  so  great  reputation,  departing 
from  his  usual  rigor  of  conduct,  paid  her  a  visit. 


But  she  did  not  relax  those  bonds  of  a  most 
severe  method  of  life,  which  she  had  imposed 
upon  herself,  even  by  allowing  herself  to  see 
Martin.  And  thus  the  blessed  man,  having 
received,  through  another  woman,  her  praise- 
worthy apology,  joyfully  departed  from  the 
doors  of  her  who  had  not  permitted  herself  to 
be  seen  or  saluted.  O  glorious  virgin,  who  did 
not  allow  herself  to  be  looked  upon  even  by 
Martin  !  O  blessed  Martin,  who  did  not  regard 
that  repulse  as  being  any  insult  to  himself,  but, 
extolling  with  exultant  heart  her  excellence, 
rejoiced  in  an  example  only  too  rare  in  that 
locality !  Well,  when  approaching  night  had 
compelled  us  to  stay  at  no  great  distance  from 
her  humble  dwelling,  that  same  virgin  sent  a 
present  to  the  blessed  man ;  and  Martin  did 
what  he  had  never  done  before  (for  he  accepted 
a  present  or  gift  from  nobody),  he  refused  none 
of  those  things  which  the  estimable  virgin  had 
sent  him,  declaring  that  her  blessing  was  by  no 
means  to  be  rejected  by  a  priest,  since  she  was 
indeed  to  be  placed  before  many  priests.  Let, 
I  beg;  virgins  listen  to  that  example,  so  that  they 
shall,  if  they  desire  to  close  their  doors  to  the 
wicked,  even  shut  them  against  the  good  ;  and 
that  the  ill-disposed  may  have  no  free  access  to 
them,  they  shall  not  fear  even  to  exclude  priests 
from  their  society.  Let  the  whole  world  listen 
attentively  to  this  :  a  virgin  did  not  permit  her- 
self to  be  looked  upon  by  Martin.  And  it  was 
no  common  ^  priest  whom  she  repulsed,  but  the 
girl  refused  to  come  under  the  eyes  of  a  man 
whom  it  was  the  salvation  of  onlookers  to  be- 
hold. But  what  priest,  besides  Martin,  would 
not  have  regarded  this  as  doing  an  injury  to 
him?  What  irritation  and  fury  would  he  have 
conceived  in  his  mind  against  that  virgin  ?  He 
would  have  deemed  her  a  heretic  ;  and  would 
have  resolved  that  she  should  be  laid  under  an 
anathema.  And  how  surely  would  such  a  man 
have  preferred  to  that  blessed  soul  those  virgins 
who  are  always  throwing  themselves  in  the  way 
of  the  priest,  who  get  up  sumptuous  entertain- 
ments, and  who  recline  at  table  with  the  rest  ! 
But  whither  is  my  speech  carrying  me  ?  That 
somewhat  too  free  manner  of  speaking  must  be 
checked,  lest  perchance  it  may  give  offense  to 
some  ;  for  words  of  reproach  will  not  profit  the 
unfiiithfiil,  while  the  example  quoted  will  be 
enough  for  the  foithful.  At  the  same  time,  I 
wish  so  to  extol  the  virtue  of  this  virgin,  as 
nevertheless  to  think  that  no  deduction  is  to  be 
made  from  the  excellence  of  those  others,  who 
often  came  from  remote  regions  for  the  purpose 
of  seeing  Martin,  since  indeed,  with  the  same 
object  in  view,  even  angels  ofttimes  visited  the 
blessed  man. 

1  "  qucmcumque,"  in  the  sense  of  qualetncumgiie,  which  is,  in 
fact,  found  in  some  of  the  MSS. 


DIALOGUES    OF    SULPITIUS    SEVERUS. 


45 


CHAPTER   XIII. 

"  But  in  what  I  am  now  about  to  narrate,  I 
possess  you,  Sulpitius  "  (here  he  looked  at  me) 
"  as  a  fellow-witness.  One  clay,  I  and  Sulpitius 
there  were  watching  before  Martin's  door,  and 
had  already  sat  in  silence  for  several  hours.  We 
did  so  with  deep  reverence  and  awe,  as  if  we 
were  carrying  out  a  watch  prescribed  to  us 
before  the  tent  of  an  angel ;  while,  all  the  time, 
the  door  of  his  cell  being  closed,  he  did  not 
know  that  we  w^ere  there.  Meanwhile,  we  heard 
the  sound  of  people  conversing,  and  by  and  by 
we  were  filled  witli  a  kind  of  awe  and  amaze- 
ment, for  we  could  not  help  perceiving  that 
something  divine  was  going  on.  After  nearly 
two  hours,  Martin  comes  out  to  us ;  and  then 
our  friend  Sulpitius  (for  no  one  w-as  accustomed 
to  speak  to  him  more  familiarly)  began  to  en- 
treat him  to  make  known  to  us,  piously  enquiring 
on  the  subject,  what  meant  that  sort  of  Divine 
awe  which  we  confessed  we  had  both  felt,  and 
with  whom  he  had  been  conversing  in  his  cell. 
We  added  that,  as  we  stood  before  the  door,  we 
had  undoubtedly  heard  a  feeble  sound  of  people 
talking,  but  had  scarcely  understood  it.  Then 
he  after  a  long  delay  (but  there  was  really  noth- 
ing which  Sulpitius  could  not  extort  from  him 
even  against  his  will :  I  am  about  to  relate  things 
somewhat  difficult  of  belief,  but,  as  Christ  is  my 
witness,  I  lie  not,  unless  any  one  is  so  impious 
as  to  think  that  Martin  himself  lied)  said  :  *  I 
will  tell  yoii,  but  I  beg  you  will  not  speak  of  it  to 
any  one  else.  Agnes,  Thecla,  and  Mary  were 
there  with  me.'  He  proceeded  to  describe  to 
us  the  face  and  general  aspect  of  each.  And 
he  acknowledged  that,  not  merely  on  that  day, 
but  frequently,  he  received  visits  from  them. 
Nor  did  he  deny  that  Peter  also  and  Paul,  the 
Apostles,  were  pretty  frequently  seen  by  him. 
Moreover,  he  was  in  the  habit  of  rebuking  the 
demons  by  their  special  names,  according  as  they 
severally  came  to  him.  Pie  found  Mercury  a 
cause  of  special  annoyance,  while  he  said  that 
Jupiter  was  stupid  and  doltish.  I  am  aware 
that  these  things  seemed  incredible  even  to 
many  who  dwelt  in  the  same  monastery ;  and 
far  less  can  I  expect  that  all  who  simply  hear  of 
them  will  believe  them.  For  unless  Martin  had 
lived  such  an  inestimable  life,  and  displayed 
such  excellence,  he  would  by  no  means  be  re- 
garded among  us  as  having  been  endowed  with  so 
great  glory.  And  yet  it  is  not  at  all  wonderful 
that  human  infirmity  doubted  concerning  the 
works  of  Martin,  when  we  see  that  many  at  the 
present  day  do  not  even  believe  the  Gospels. 
But  w^e  have  ourselves  had  personal  knowledge 
and  experience,  that  angels  often  appeared  and 
spoke  familiarly  with  Martin.     As  bearing  upon 


this,  I  am  to  narrate  a  matter,  of  small  impor- 
tance indeed,  but  still  I  will  state  it.  A  synod, 
composed  of  bishops,  was  held  at  Nemausus, 
and  while  he  had  refused  to  attend  it,  he  waif 
nevertheless  desirous  of  knowing  what  was  done 
at  it.  It  so  happenetl  that  our  friend  Sulpitiuj.: 
was  then  on  board  ship  with  him,  but,  as  was 
his  custom,  he  kept  his  place  at  a  distance  from 
the  rest,  in  a  retired  part  of  the  vessel.  There 
an  angel  announced  to  him  what  had  taken 
place  in  the  synod.  And  when,  afterwards,  we 
carefully  enquired  into  the  time  at  which  the 
council  was  held,  we  found,  beyond  all  doubt, 
that  that  was  the  very  day  of  the  council,  and 
that  those  things  were  there  decreed  by  the 
bishops  which  the  angel  had  announced  to 
Martin. 


CHAPTER   XIV. 

"But  when  we  questioned  him  concerning  the 
end  of  the  world,  he  said  to  us  that  Nero  and 
Antichrist  have  first  to  come  ;  that  Nero  will 
rule  in  the  Western  portion  of  the  world,  after 
having  subdued  ten  kings  ;  and  that  a  persecu- 
tion will  be  carried  on  by  him,  with  the  view  of 
compelling  men  to  worship  the  idols  of  the 
Gentiles.  He  also  said  that  Antichrist,  on  the 
other  hand,  would  first  seize  upon  the  empire  of 
the  East,  having  his  seat  and  the  capital  of  his 
kingdom  at  Jerusalem ;  while  both  the  city  and 
the  temple  would  be  restored  by  him.  He 
added  that  his  persecution  would  have  for  its 
object  to  compel  men  to  deny  Christ  as  God, 
while  he  maintained  rather  that  he  himself  was 
Christ,  and  ordered  all  men  to  be  circumcised, 
according  to  the  law.  He  further  said  that 
Nero  was  to  be  destroyed  by  Antichrist,  and 
that  the  whole  world,  and  all  nations,  were  to 
be  reduced  under  the  power  of  Antichrist,  until 
that  impious  one  should  be  overthrown  by  the 
coming  of  Christ.  He  told  us,  too,  that  there 
was  no  doubt  but  that  Antichrist,  having  been 
conceived  by  an  evil  spirit,  was  already  born, 
and  had,  by  this  time,  reached  the  years  of  boy- 
hood, while  he  would  assume  power  as  soon  as 
he  reached  the  proper  age.  Now,  this  is  the 
eighth  year  since  we  heard  these  words  from  his 
lips :  you  may  conjecture,  then,  how  nearly 
about  to  happen  are  those  things  which  are 
feared  in  the  future." 

As  our  friend  the  Gaul  was  emphatically 
speaking  thus,  and  had  not  yet  finished  what  he 
intended  to  relate,  a  boy  of  the  fiimily  entered 
with  the  announcement  that  the  presbyter  Re- 
frigerius  was  standing  at  the 'door.  We  began 
to  doubt  whether  it  would  be  better  to  hear  the 
Gaul  further,  or  to  go  and  welcome  that  man 
whom  we  so  greatly  loved,  and  who  had  come 


46 


DIALOGUES    OF   SULPITIUS    SEVERUS. 


to  pay  his  respects  to  us,  when  our  friend  the 
Gaul  remarked  :  "  Even  aUhough  this  most  holy 
priest  had  not  arrived,  this  talk  of  ours  would 
have  had  to  be  cut  short,  for  the  approach  of 
night  was  itself  urging  us  to  finish  the  discourse 
which  has  been  so  far  continued.  But  inas- 
much as  all  things  bearing  upon  the  excellences 
of  Martin  have  by  no  means  yet  been  men- 
tioned, let  what  you  have  heard  suffice  for 
to-day  :  to-morrow  we  shall  proceed  to  what  re- 
mains." This  promise  of  our  GalHc  friend 
being  equally  acceptable  to  us  all,  we  rose  up. 


DIALOGUE    III. 

THE   VIRTUES    OF    MARTIN    CONTINUED. 

CHAPTER   L 

"  It  is  daylight,  our  Gallic  friend,  and  you 
must  get  up.  For,  as  you  see,  both  Postumi- 
anus  is  urgent,  and  this  presbyter,  who  was  yes- 
terday admitted  to  hear  what  was  going  on,  ex- 
pects that  what  you  put  off  narrating  with  regard 
to  our  beloved  Martin  till  to-day,  you  should 
now,  in  fulfillment  of  your  promise,  proceed  to 
tell.  He  is  not,  indeed,  ignorant  of  all  the 
things  which  are  to  be  related,  but  knowledge  is 
sweet  and  pleasant  even  to  one  who  goes  over 
again  things  already  known  to  ^lim  ;  since,  in- 
deed, it  has  been  so  arranged  by  nature  that 
one  rejoices  with  a  better  conscience  in  his 
knowledge  of  things  which  he  is  sure,  through 
the  testimony  borne  to  them  by  many,  are  not 
in  any  degree  uncertain.  For  this  man,  too, 
having  been  a  follower  of  Martin  from  his  early 
youth,  has  indeed  been  acquainted  with  all  his 
doings  ;  but  he  gladly  hears  over  again  things 
already  known.  And  I  will  confess  to  thee,  O 
Gaul,  that  the  virtues  of  Martin  have  often  been 
heard  of  by  me,  since,  in  fact,  I  have  committed 
to  writing  many  things  regarding  him ;  but 
through  the  admiration  I  feel  for  his  deeds, 
those  things  are  always  new  to  me  which,  al- 
though I  have  already  heard  them,  are,  over  and 
over  again,  repeated  concerning  him.  Where- 
fore, we  congratulate  you  that  Refrigerius  has 
been  added  to  us  as  a  hearer,  all  the '  more 
earnestly  that  Postumianus  is  manifesting  such 
eagerness,  because  he  hastens,  as  it  were,  to  con- 
vey a  knowledge  of  these  things  to  the  East, 
and  is  now  to  hear  the  trntli  from  you  confirmed, 
so  to  speak,  by  witnesses." 

As  I  was  saying  these  words,  and  as  the  Gaul 
was  now  ready  to  resume  his  narrative,  there 
rushes  in  upon  us  a  crowd  of  monks,  Evagrius 
the  presbyter,  Aper,  Sabbatius,  Agricola ;  and,  a 

'  The  original  is  here  very  obscure. 


little  after,  there  enters  the  presbyter  yEtherius, 
with  Calupio  the  deacon,  and  Amator  the  sub- 
deacon  ;  lastly,  Aurelius  the  presbyter,  a  very 
dear  friend  of  mine,  who  came  from  a  longer 
distance,  rushes  up  out  of  "breath.  "  Why,"  I 
enquire,  "  do  you  so  suddenly  and  unexpectedly 
run  together  to  us  from  so  many  different  quar- 
ters, and  at  so  early  an  hour  in  the  morning?  " 
"  We,"  they  reply,  "  heard  yesterday  that  your 
friend  the  Gaul  spent  the  whole  day  in  narrating 
the  virtues  of  Martin,  and,  as  night  overtook 
him,  put  off  the  rest  until  to-day  :  wherefore,  we 
have  made  haste  to  furnish  him  with  a  Crowded 
audience,  as  he  speaks  about  such  interesting 
matters."  In  the  meantime,  we  are  informed 
that  a  multitude  of  lay  people  are  standing  at 
the  door,  not  venturing  to  enter,  but  begging, 
nevertheless,  that  they  might  be  admitted. 
Then  Aper  declares,  "  It  is  by  no  means  proper 
that  these  people  should  be  mixed  up  with  us, 
for  they  have  come  to  hear,  rather  from  curi- 
osity than  piety."  I  was  grieved  for  the  sake 
of  those  who  ought  not,  as  he  thought,  to  be 
admitted,  but  all  that  I  could  obtain,  and  with 
difficulty,  was  that  they  should  admit  Eucher- 
ius  from  among  the  lieutenants,"  and  Celsus,  a 
man  of  consular  rank,  while  the  rest  were  kept 
back.  We  then  place  the  Gaul  in  the  middle 
seat ;  and  he,  after  long  keeping  silence,  in  har- 
mony with  his  well-known  modesty,  at  length 
began  as  follows. 


CHAPTER   II. 

"  You  have  assembled,  my  pious  and  eloquent 
friends,  to  hear  me  ;  but,  as  I  presume,  you 
have  brought  to  the  task  religious  rather  than 
learned  ears  ;  for  you  are  to  listen  to  me  simply 
as  a  witness  to  the  faith,  and  not  as  speaking 
with  the  fluency  of  an  orator.  Now,  I  shall  not 
repeat  the  things  which  were  spoken  yesterday  : 
those  who  did  not  hear  them  can  become  ac- 
quainted with  them  by  means  of  the  written 
records.  Postumianus  expects  something  new, 
intending  to  make  known  what  he  hears  to  the 
East,  that  it  may  not,  when  Martin  is  brought 
into  comparison,  esteem  itself  above  the  West. 
And  first,  my  mind  inclines  to  set  forth  an  inci- 
dent respecting  which  Refrigerius  has  just  whis- 
pered in  my  ear  :  the  affair  took  place  in  the 
city  of  Carnutes.  A  certain  fother  of  a  fomily 
ventured  to  bring  to  INIartin  his  daughter  of 
twelve  years  old,  who  had  been  dumb  from  her 
birth,  begging  that  the  blessed  man  would  loose, 
by  his  pious  merits,  her  tongue,  which  was  thus 
tied.  He,  giving  way  to  the  bishops  Valentinus 
and  Victricius,  who  then  happened  to  be  by  his 

-  "  ex  vicariis." 


DIALOGUES   OF    SULPITIUS   SEVERUS. 


47 


side,  declared  that  he  was  unequal  to  so  great 
an  undertaking,  but  that  nothing  was  impossible 
to  them,  as  if  holier  than  himself.  But  they, 
adding  their  pious  entreaties,  with  suppliant 
voices,  to  those  of  the  father,  begged  Martin  to 
accomplish  what  was  hoped  for.  He  made  no 
further  delay,  —  being  admirable  in  both  re- 
spects, in  the  display,  first  of  all,  of  humihty, 
and  then  in  not  putting  off  a  pious  duty,  —  but 
orders  the  crowd  of  people  standing  round  to 
be  removed  ;  and  while  the  bishops  only,  and 
the  father  of  the  girl,  were  present,  he  pros- 
trates himself  in  prayer,  after  his  usual  fashion. 
He  then  blesses  a  little  oil,  while  he  utters  the 
formula  of  exorcism  ;  and  holding  the  tongue 
of  the  girl  with  his  fingers,  he  thus  pours  the 
consecrated  liquid  into  her  mouth.  Nor  did 
the  result  of  the  power  thus  exerted  disappoint 
the  holy  man.  He  asks  her  the  name  of  her 
father,  and  she  instantly  replied.  The  father 
cries  out,  embracing  the  knees  of  Martin,  with 
a  mixture  of  joy  and  tears ;  and  while  all 
around  are  amazed,  he  confesses  that  then  for 
the  first  time  he  listened  to  the  voice  of  his 
daughter.  And  that  this  may  not  appear  in- 
credible to  any  one,  let  Evagrius,  who  is  here, 
furnish  you  with  a  testimony  of  its  truth  ;  for 
the  thing  took  place  in  his  very  presence. 


CHAPTER   III. 

"  The  following  is  a  small  matter  which  I 
learned  lately  from  the  narration  of  Arpa^ius 
the  presbyter,  but  I  do  not  think  it  ought  to  be 
passed  over.  The  wife  of  the  courtier  Avitianus 
had  sent  some  oil  to  Martin,  that  he  might  bless 
it  (such  is  the  custom)  so  as  to  be  ready  when 
needful  to  meet  different  causes  of  disease.  It 
was  contained  in  a  glass  jar  of  a  shape  which, 
round  throughout,  gradually  bulges  ^  out  towards 
the  middle,  with  a  long  neck ;  but  the  hol- 
low of  the  extended  neck  was  not  filled,  be- 
cause it  is  the  custom  to  fill  vessels  of  the  kind 
in  such  a  way  that  the  top  may  be  left  free 
for  the  knobs  which  stop  up  the  jar.  The  pres- 
byter testified  that  he  saw  the  oil  increase  under 
the  blessing  of  Martin,  so  much  that,  the  abun- 
dance of  it  overflowing  the  jar,  it  ran  down  from 
the  top  in  every  direction.  He  added  that  it 
bubbled  up  with  the  same-  effect,  while  the  vessel 
was  being  carried  back  to  the  mistress  of  the 
household  ;  for  the  oil  so  steadily  flowed  over  in 
the  hands  of  the  boy  carrying  it,  that  the  abun- 
dance of  the  liquid,  thus  pouring  down,  covered 
all  his  garment.  He  said,  moreover,  that  the 
lady  received  the  vessel  so  full  even  to  the  brim, 

'  The  text  of  this  sentence  is  very  uncertain,  and  the  meaning 
somewhat  obscure. 

^  Here,  again,  the  text  is  in  confusion. 


that  (as  the  same  presbyter  tells  ^  us  at  the  pres- 
ent day)  there  was  no  room  in  that  jar  for  insert- 
ing the  stopper  by  which  people  are  accustomed 
to  close  those  vessels,  the  contents  of  which  are 
to  be  preserved  with  special  car'e.  That,  too, 
was  a  remarkable  thing  that  happened  to  this 
man."  Here  he  looked  at  me.  "  He  had  set  down 
a  glass  vessel  containing  oil  blessed  by  Martin  in 
a  pretty  high  window ;  and  a  boy  of  the  family, 
not  knowing  that  a  jar  was  there,  drew  towards 
him  the  cloth  covering  it,  with  rather  much  vio- 
lence. The  vessel,  in  consequence,  fell  down 
on  the  marble  pavement.  Upon  this,  all  were 
filled  with  dread  lest  the  blessing  of  God,  be- 
stowed on  the  vessel  by  Martin,  had  been  lost ; 
but  the  jar  was  found  as  safe  as  ever,  just  as  if 
it  had  follen  on  the  softest  feathers.  Now,  this 
result  should  be  ascribed,  not  so  much  to  chance, 
as  to  the  power  of  Martin,  whose  blessing  could 
not  possibly  perish. 

"  There  is  this,  too,  which  was  effected  by  a 
certain  person,  whose  name,  because  he  is  pres- 
ent, and  has  forbidden  it  to  be  mentioned,  shall 
be  suppressed  :  Saturninus  too,  who  is  now  with 
us,  was  present  on  the  occasion  referred  to.  A 
dog  was  barking  at  us  in  a  somewhat  disagree- 
able manner.  '  I  command  thee,'  said  the  per- 
son in  question,  '  in  the  name  of  Martin,  to  be 
quiet.'  The  dog — his  barking  seemed  to  stick 
in  his  throat,  and  one  might  have  thought  that 
his  tongue  had  been  cut  out  —  was  silent. 
Thus  it  is  really  a  small  matter  that  Martin  him- 
self performed  miracles  :  believe  me  that  other 
people  also  have  accomplished  many  things  in 
his  name. 

CHAPTER   IV. 

"  You  knew  the  too  barbarous  and,  beyond 
measure,  bloody  ferocity  of  Avitianus,  a  former 
courtier.  He  enters  the  city  of  the  Turones 
with  a  furious  spirit,  while  rows  of  people,  laden 
with  chains,  followed  him  with  melancholy  looks, 
orders  various  kinds  of  punishments  to  be  got 
ready  for  slaying  them  ;  and  to  the  grave  amaze- 
ment of  the  city,  he  arranges  them  for  the  sad 
work  on  the  following  day.  When  this  became 
known  to  Martin,  he  set  out  all  alone,  a  little 
before  midnight,  for  the  palace  of  that  beast. 
But  when,  in  the  silence  of  the  depths  of  the 
night,  and  as  all  were  at  rest,  no  entrance  was 
possible  through  the  bolted  doors,  he  lays  him- 
self down  before  that  cruel  threshold.  In  the 
meantime,  Avitianus,  buried  in  deep  sleep,  is 
smitten  by  an  assailing  angel,  who  says  to  him, 
'  Does  the  servant  of  God  lie  at  your  threshold, 
and  do  you  continue  sleeping?'  He,  on  listen- 
ing to  these  words,  rises,  in  much  disturbance, 
from  his  bed ;  and  calling  his  servants,  he  ex- 

2  Text  and  meaning  both  very  obscure. 


48 


DIALOGUES    OF   SULPITIUS    SEVERUS. 


claims  in  terror,  '  Martin  is  at  the  door :  go 
immediately,  and  undo  the  bolts,  that  the  ser- 
vant of  God  may  suffer  no  harm.'  But  they,  in 
accordance  with  the  tendency  of  all  servants, 
having  scarcely  stepped  beyond  the  first  thresh- 
old, and  laughing  at  their  master  as  having 
been  mocked  by  a  dream,  affirm  that  there  was 
no  one  at  the  door.  This  they  did  as  simply 
inferring  from  their  own  disposition,  that  no  one 
could  be  keeping  watch  through  the  night,  while 
far  less  did  they  believe  that  a  priest  was  lying 
at  the  threshold  of  another  man  during  the 
horror  of  that  night.  Well,  they  easily  per- 
suaded Avitianus  of  the  truth  of  their  story. 
He  again  sinks  into  sleep  ;  but,  being  ere  long 
struck  with  greater  violence  than  before,  he  ex- 
claimed that  Martin  7(jas  standing  at  the  door, 
and  that,  therefore,  no  rest  either  of  mind  or 
body  was  allowed  him.  As  the  servants  delayed, 
he  himself  went  forward  to  the  outer  threshold  ; 
and  there  he  found  Martin,  as  he  had  thought 
he  would.  The  wretched  man,  struck  by  the 
display  of  so  great  excellence,  exclaimed,  '  Why, 
sir,  have  you  done  this  to  me  ?  There  is  no 
need  for  you  to  speak  :  I  know  what  you  wish  : 
I  see  what  you  require  :  depart  as  quickly  as 
possible,  lest  the  anger  of  heaven  consume  me 
on  account  of  the  injury  done  you  :  I  have 
already  suffered  sufficient  punishment.  Believe 
me,  that  I  have  firmly  determined  in  my  own 
mind  how  I  should  now  proceed.'  So  then, 
after  the  departure  of  the  holy  man,  he  calls  for 
his  officials  and  orders  all  the  prisoners  to  be 
set  free,  while  presently  he  himself  went  his  way. 
Thus  Avitianus  being  put  to  flight,  the  city 
rejoiced,  and  felt  at  liberty. 


CHAPTER   V. 

"While  these  are  certain  facts,  since  Avitianus 
related  them  to  many  persons,  they  are  further 
confirmed  on  this  ground  that  Refrigerius  the 
presbyter,  whom  you  see  here  present,  lately  had 
them  narrated  to  him,  under  an  appeal  to  the 
Divine  majesty,  by  Dagridus,  a  faithful  man 
among  the  tribunes,  who  swore  that  the  account 
was  given  him  by  Avitianus  himself.  But  I  do 
not  wish  you  to  wonder  that  I  do  to-day  what 
I  did  not  do  yesterday ;  viz.  that  I  subjoin  to  the 
mention  of  every  individual  wonder  the  names 
of  witnesses,  and  mention  persons  to  whom,  if 
any  one  is  inclined  to  disbelieve,  he  may  have 
recourse,  because  they  are  still  in  the  body. 
The  unbelief  of  very  many  has  compelled  that ; 
for  they  are  said  to  hesitate  about  some  things 
which  were  related  yesterday.  Let  these  people, 
then,  accept  as  witnesses  persons  who  are  still 
alive  and  well,  and  let  them  give  more  credit  to 
such,  inasmuch  as   they  doubt   our  good  faith. 


But  really,  if  they  are  so  unbelieving,  I  give  it 
as  my  oi^inion  that  they  will  not  believe  even 
the  witnesses  named.  And  yet  I  am  surprised 
that  any  one,  who  has  even  the  least  sense  of 
religion,  can  venture  on  such  wickedness  as  to 
think  that  any  one  could  tell  lies  concerning 
Martin.  Be  that  far  from  every  one  who  lives 
in  obedience  to  God ;  for,  indeed,  Martin  does 
not  require  to  be  defended  by  falsehoods.  But, 
O  Christ,  we  lay  the  truth  of  our  whole  discourse 
before  thee,  to  the  effect  that  we  neither  have 
said,  nor  will  say,  anything  else  than  what  either 
we  ourselves  have  witnessed,  or  have  learned 
from  undoubted  authorities,  and,  indeed,  very 
frequently  from  Martin  himself.  But  although 
we  have  adopted  the  form  of  a  dialogue,  in 
order  that  the  style  might  be  varied  to  prevent 
weariness,  still  we  affirm  that  we  are  really  set- 
ting forth  '  a  true  history  in  a  dutiful  spirit.  The 
unbelief  of  some  has  compelled  me,  to  my  great 
regret,  to  insert  in  my  narrative  these  remarks 
which  are  apart  from  the  subject  in  hand.  But 
let  the  discourse  now  return  to  our  assembly ; 
in  which  since  I  saw  that  I  was  listened  to  so 
eagerly,  I  found  it  necessary  to  acknowledge  that 
Aper  acted  properly  in  keeping  back  the  un- 
believing, under  the  Conviction  he  had  that  those 
only  ought  to  be  allowed  to  hear  who  were  of  a 
believing  spirit. 


CHAPTER   VI. 

"  I  AM  enraged  in  heart,  believe  me,  and, 
through  vexation,  I  seem  to  lose  my  senses  :  do 
Christian  men  not  believe  in  the  miraculous 
powers  of  Martin,  which  the  demons  acknowl- 
edged ? 

"  The  monastery  of  the  blessed  man  was  at 
two  miles'  distance  from  the  city ;  but  if,  as 
often  as  he  was  to  come  to  the  church,  he  only 
had  set  his  foot  outside  the  threshold  of  his 
cell,  one  could  perceive  the  possessed  roaring 
through  the  whole  church,  and  the  bands  of 
guilty  ^  ones  trembling  as  if  their  judge  were 
coming,  so  that  the  groanings  of  the  demons 
announced  the  approach  of  the  bishop  to  the 
clerics,  who  were  not  previously  aware  that  he 
was  coming.  I  saw  a  certain  man  snatched  up 
into  the  air  on  the  approach  of  Martin,  and 
suspended  there  with  his  hands  stretched  up- 
wards, so  tliat  he  could  in  no  way  touch  the 
ground  with  his  feet.  But  if  at  any  time  Mar- 
tin undertook  the  duty  of  exorcising  the  de- 
mons, he  touched  no  one  with  his  hands,  and 
reproached  no  one  in  words,  as  a  multitude  of 
expressions  is  generally  rolled  forth  by  the 
clerics ;  but  the  possessed,  being  brought  up  to 


'  "  nos  pie  praestruere  profitemur  historiae  veritatem." 
•  "  agmina  damnanda." 


DIALOGUES   OF   SULPITIUS    SEVERUS. 


49 


him,  he  ordered  all  others  to  depart,  and  the 
doors  being  bolted,  clothed  in  sackcloth  and 
sprinkled  with  ashes,  he  stretched  himself  on  the 
ground  in  the  midst  of  the  church,  and  turned 
to  prayer.  Then  truly  might  one  behold  the 
wretched  beings  tortured  with  various  results  — 
some  hanging,  as  it  were,  from  a  cloud,  with 
their  feet  turned  upwards,  and  yet  their  gar- 
ment? did  not  fall  down  over  their  faces,  lest 
the  part  of  their  body  which  was  exposed 
should  give  rise  to  shame  ;  while  in  another  part 
of  the  church  one  could  see  them  tortured  with- 
out any  question  being  addressed  to  them,  and 
confessing  their  crimes.  They  revealed  their 
names,  too,  of  their  own  accord  ;  one  acknowl- 
edged that  he  was  Jupiter,  and  another  that  he 
was  Mercury.  Finally,  one  could  see  all  the 
ser\'ants  of  the  devil  suffering  agony,  along  with 
their  master,  so  that  we  could  not  help  acknowl- 
edains  that  in  Martin  there  was  fulfilled  that 
which  is  written  that  *  the  saints  shall  judge 
angels.' 


CHAPTER  VII. 

"  There  was  a  certain  village  in  the  country 
of  the  Senones  which  was  every  year  annoyed 
with  hail.  The  inhabitants,  constrained  by  an 
extreme  of  suffering,  sought  help  from  Martin. 
A  highly  respectable  embassy  was  sent  to  him 
by  Auspicius,  a  man  of  the  rank  of  prefect, 
whose  fields  the  storm  had  been  wont  to  smite 
more  severely  than  it  did  those  of  others.  But 
Martin,  having  there  offered  up  prayer,  so  com- 
pletely freed  the  whole  district  from  the  pre- 
vaiUng  plague,  that  for  twenty  years,  in  which 
he  afterwards  remained  in  the  body,  no  one  in 
those  places  suffered  from  hail.  And  that  this 
may  not  be  thought  to  be  accidental,  but  rather 
effected  by  Martin,  the  tempest,  returning  afresh, 
once  more  fell  upon  the  district  in  the  year  in 
which  he  died.  The  world  thus  felt  the  de- 
parture of  a  believing  man  to  such  a  degree, 
that,  as  it  justly  rejoiced  in  his  life,  so  it  also 
bewailed  his  death.  But  if  any  hearer,  weak  in 
faith,  demands  also  witnesses  to  prove  those 
things  which  we  have  said,  I  will  bring  forward, 
not  one  man,  but  many  thousands,  and  will  even 
summon  the  whole  region  of  the  Senones  to 
bear  witness  to  the  power  which  was  experi- 
enced. But  not  to  speak  of  this,  you,  presby- 
ter Refrigerius,  remember,  I  believe,  that  we 
lately  had  a  conversation,  concerning  the  matter 
referred  to,  with  Romulus,  the  son  of  that 
Auspicius  I  mentioned,  an  honored  and  religious 
man.  He  related  the  points  in  question  to  us, 
as  if  they  had  not  been  previously  known ;  and 
as  he  was  afraid  of  constant  losses  in  future  har- 
vests,   he    did,  as  you  yourself  beheld,  regret, 


with   much   lamentation,   that  Martin  was   not 
preserved  up  to  this  time. 


CHAPTER   VHI. 

"  But  to  return  to  Avitianus  :  while  at  every 
other  place,  and  in  all  other  cities,  he  displayed 
marks  of  horrible  cruelty,  at  Tours  alone  he  did 
no  harm.  Yes,  that  beast,  which  was  nourished 
by  human  blood,  and  by  the  slaughter  of  un- 
fortunate creatures,  showed  himself  meek  and 
peaceable  in  the  presence  of  the  blessed  man. 
I  remember  that  Martin  one  day  came  to  him, 
and  having  entered  his  private  apartment,  he 
saw  a  demon  of  marvelous  size  sitting  behind 
his  back.  Blowing  upon  him  from  a  distance 
(if  I  may,  as  a  matter  of  necessity,  make  use 
of  a  word  which  is  hardly  Latin'),  Avitianus 
thought  that  he  was  blowing  at  him,  and  ex- 
claimed, '  Why,  thou  holy  man,  dost  thou 
treat  me  thus  ? '  But  then  Martin  said,  '  It  is 
not  at  you,  but  at  him  who,  in  all  his  terrible- 
ness,  leans  over  your  neck.'  The  devil  gave 
way,  and  left  his  familiar  seat ;  and  it  is  well 
known  that,  ever  after  that  day,  Avitianus  was 
milder,  whether  because  he  now  understood  that 
he  had  always  been  doing  the  will  of  the  devil 
sitting  by  him,  or  because  the  unclean  spirit, 
driven  from  his  seat  by  Martin,  was  deprived  of 
the  power  of  attacking  him  ;  while  the  servant 
was  ashamed  of  his  master,  and  the  master  did 
not  force  on  his  servant. 

"  In  a  village  of  the  Ambatienses,  that  is  in 
an  old  stronghold,  which  is  now  largely  inhabited 
by  brethren,  you  know  there  is  a  great  idol- 
temple  built  up  with  labor.  The  building  had 
been  constructed  of  the  most  pohshed  stones 
and  furnished  with  turrets ;  and,  rising  on  high 
in  the  form  of  a  cone,  it  preserved  the  super- 
stition of  the  place  by  the  majesty  of  the  work. 
The  blessed  man  had  often  enjoined  its  de- 
struction on  Marcellus,  who  was  there  settled  as 
presbyter.  Returning  after  the  lapse  of  some 
time,  he  reproved  the  presbyter,  because  the 
edifice  of  the  idol-temple  was  still  standing. 
He  pleaded  in  excuse  that  such  an  immense 
structure  could  with  difficulty  be  thrown  down 
by  a  band  of  soldiers,  or  by  the  strength  of  a 
large  body  of  the  public,  and  far  less  should  Mar- 
tin think  it  easy  for  that  to  be  effected  by  means 
of  weak  clerics  or  helpless  monks.  Then  Martin, 
having  recourse  to  his  well-known  auxiliaries, 
spent  the  whole  night  in  watching  and  prayer  — 
with  the  result  that,  in  the  morning,  a  storm 
arose,  and  cast  down  even  to  its  foundations  the 
idol-temple.  Now  let  this  narrative  rest  on  the 
testimony  of  Marcellus. 


1  "  exsufflans." 


50 


DIALOGUES   OF    SULPITIUS    SEVERUS. 


CHAPTER   IX. 

"  I  WILL  make  use  of  another  not  dissimilar 
marvel  in  a  like  kind  of  work,  having  the  con- 
currence of  Refrigerius  in  doing  so.  Martin 
was  prepared  to  throw  down  a  pillar  of  immense 
size,  on  the  top  of  which  an  idol  stood,  but 
there  was  no  means  by  which  effect  could  be 
given  to  his  design.  Well,  according  to  his 
usual  practice,  he  betakes  himself  to  prayer.  It 
is  undoubted  that  then  a  column,  to  a  certain 
degree  like  the  other,  rushed  down  from  heaven, 
and  falling  upon  the  idol,  it  crushed  to  powder 
the  whole  of  the  seemingly  indestructible  mass  : 
this  would  have  been  a  small  matter,  had  he 
only  in  an  invisible  way  made  use  of  the 
powers  of  heaven,  but  these  very  powers  were 
beheld  by  human  eyes  serving  Martin  in  a 
visible  manner. 

"  Again,  the  same  Refrigerius  is  my  witness 
that  a  woman,  suffering  from  an  issue  of  blood, 
when  she  had  touched  the  garment  of  Martin, 
after  the  example  of  the  woman  mentioned  in 
the  Gospel,  was  cured  in  a  moment  of  time. 

"A  serpent,  cutting  its  way  through  a  river, 
was  swimming  towards  the  bank  on  which  we 
had  taken  our  stand.  '  In  the  name  of  the 
Lord,*  said  Martin, '  I  command  thee  to  return.' 
Instantly,  at  the  word  of  the  holy  man,  the 
venomous  beast  turned  round,  and  while  we 
looked  on,  swam  across  to  the  farther  bank. 
As  we  all  perceived  that  this  had  not  happened 
without  a  miracle,  he  groaned  deeply,  and  ex- 
claimed, '  Serpents  hear  me,  but  men  will  not 
hear.' 


CHAPTER   X. 

"  Being  accustomed  to  eat  fish  at  the  time  of 
Easter,  he  enquired  a  little  before  the  hour  for 
refreshment,  whether  it  was  in  readiness.  Then 
Cato,  the  deacon,  to  whom  the  outward  man- 
agement of  the  monastery  belonged,  and  who 
was  himself  a  skillful  fisher,  tells  him  that  no 
capture  had  fallen  to  his  lot  the  whole  day,  and 
that  other  fishers,  who  used  to  sell  what  they 
caught,  had  also  been  able  to  do  nothing. 
'  Go,'  said  he,  '  let  down  your  line,  and  a  cap- 
ture will  follow.'  As  Sulpitius  there  has  already 
described,  we  had  our  dwelling  close  to  the 
river.  AVe  all  went,  then,  as  these  were  holidays, 
to  see  our  friend' fishing,  with  the  hopes  of  all 
on  the  stretch,  that  the  efforts  would  not  be  in 
vain  by  which,  under  the  advice  of  Martin  him- 
self, it  was  sought  to  obtain  fish  for  his  use.  At 
the  first  throw  the  deacon  drew  out,  in  a  very 
small  net,  an  enormous  pike,  and  ran  joyfully 
back   to   the    monastery,   with    the   feeling  un- 


doubtedly to  which  some  poet  gave  utterance 
(for  we  use  a  learned  verse,  inasmuch  as  we  are 
conversing  with  learned  people)  — 

'  And  brought  his  captive  boar  ^  to  wondering  Argos.' 

"  Truly  that  disciple  of  Christ,  imitating  the 
miracles  performed  by  the  Saviour,  and  which 
he,  by  way  of  example,  set  before  the  view  of 
his  saints,  showed  Christ  also  working  in-  him, 
who,  glorifying  his  own  holy  follower  everywhere, 
conferred  upon  that  one  man  the  gifts  of  vari- 
ous graces.  Arborius,  of  the  imperial  body- 
guard, testifies  that  he  saw  the  hand  of  Martin 
as  he  was  offering  sacrifice,  clothed,  as  it  seemed, 
with  the  noblest  gems,  while  it  glittered  with  a 
purple  light ;  and  that,  when  his  right  hand  was 
moved,  he  heard  the  clash  of  the  gems,  as  they 
struck  together. 


CHAPTER   XL 

"  I  WILL  now  come  to  an  event  which  he  al- 
ways concealed,  owing  to  the  character  of  the 
times,  but  which  he  could  not  conceal  from  us. 
In  the  matter  referred  to,  there  is  this  of  a 
miraculous  nature,  that  an  angel  conversed,  face 
to  face,  with  him.  The  Emperor  Maximus, 
while  in  other  respects  doubtless  a  good  man, 
was  led  astray  by  the  advices  of  some  priests 
after  Priscillian  had  been  put  to  death.  He, 
therefore,  protected  by  his  royal  power  Ithacius 
the  bishop,  who  had  been  the  accuser  of  Pris- 
cillian, and  others  of  his  confederates,  whom  it 
is  not  necessary  to  name.  The  emperor  thus 
prevented  every  one  from  bringing  it  as  a  charge 
against  Ithacius,  that,  by  his  instrumentality,  a 
man  of  any  sort  had  been  condemned  to  death. 
Now  Martin,  constrained  to  go  to  the  court  by 
many  serious  causes  of  people  involved  in  suf- 
fering, incurred  the  whole  force  of  the  storm 
which  was  there  raging.  The  bishops  who  had 
assembled  at  Treves  were  retained  in  that  city, 
and  daily  communicating  with  Ithacius,  they  had 
made  common  cause  with  him.  When  it  was 
announced  to  them  expecting  no  such  informa- 
tion, that  Martin  was  coming,  completely  losing 
courage,  they  began  to  mutter  and  tremble 
among  themselves.  And  it  so  happened  that 
already,  under  their  influence,  the  emperor  had 
determined  to  send  some  tribunes  armed  with 
absolute  power  into  the  two  Spains,  to  search 
out  heretics,  and,  when  found,  to  deprive  them 
of  their  life  or  goods.  Now  there  was  no  doubt 
that  that  tempest  would  also  make  havoc  of 
multitudes  of  the  real  saints,  little  distinction 
being  made  between  the  various  classes  of  in- 

•  "  captivum  suem."  Probably  there  is  here  an  allusion  to  the 
capture  of  the  Erymanthian  boar  by  Hercules,  with  a  punning 
reference  to  a  secondary  meaning  o(  sits  as  a  kind  of  fish. 


DIALOGUES   OF    SULPITIUS   SEVERUS. 


51 


dividuals.     For  in  such  circumstances,  a  judg- 
ment was  formed  simply  by  appearances,  so  that 
one  was  deemed  a  heretic  rather  on  his  turning 
pale  from  fear,  or  wearing  a  particular  garment, 
than  by  the  fliith  which  he  professed.     And  the 
bishops  were  well  aware  that  such   proceedings 
would  by  no    means  please    Martin ;    but,  con- 
scious of  evil  as   they  were,  this  was  a  subject 
of  deep  anxiety  to  them,  lest  when  he  came,  he 
should  keep  from  communion  with  them  ;  know- 
ing well  as   they  did,  that  others  would  not  be 
wanting  who,  with  his  example  to  guide  them, 
would  follow    the    bold    course  adopted  by  so 
great  a  man.     They  therefore  form  a  plan  with 
the  emperor,  to  this  effect,  that,  officials  of  the 
court  being  sent  on  to  meet  him,  Martin  should 
be  forbidden  to  come  any  nearer  to  that  city, 
unless  he  should  declare  that  he  would  maintain 
peace  with  the  bishops  who  were  living  there. 
But  he  skillfully  frustrated  their  object,  by  declar- 
ing that  he  would  come  among  them  with  the 
peace  of  Christ.     And  at  last,  having  entered 
during  the  night,  he  went  to  the  church,  simply 
for  the  purpose   of  prayer.     On  the  following 
day  he  betakes  himself  to  the  palace.     Besides 
many  other  petitions  which  he  had  to  present, 
and  which  it  would  be  tedious  to  describe,  the 
following  were  the  principal :     entreaties  in  be- 
half of  the  courtier   Narses,  and  the  president 
Leucadius,  both  of  whom  had  belonged  to  the 
party  of  Gratianus,  and   that,  with   more  than 
ordinary  zeal,  upon  which  this  is  not  the  time  to 
dilate,  and  who  had  thus  incurred  the  anger  of 
the  conqueror ;  but  his   chief  request  was,  that 
tribunes,   with    the    power    of    life    and    death, 
should  not  be  sent  into  the  Spains.     For  Martin 
felt  a  pious    solicitude   not   only   to   save  from 
danger  the  true  Christians  in  these  regions,  who 
were  to  be  persecuted  in  connection  with  that 
expedition,  but  to  protect  even  heretics  them- 
selves.     But  on  the  first  and  second  day  the 
wily  emperor   kept   the  holy  man  in  suspense, 
whether   that    he    might    impress    on    him    the 
importance  of  the  affair,  or  because,  being  ob- 
noxious to  the  bishops,  he  could  not  be  recon- 
ciled  to    them,    or   because,    as    most    people 
thought  at  the  time,  the   emperor  opposed  his 
wishes  from  avarice,  having   cast  a  longing  eye 
on    the    property   of    the   persons    in   question. 
For  we  are  told  that  he  was  really  a  man  dis- 
tinguished by  many  excellent  actions,  but  that 
he   was   not   successful   in   contending   against 
avarice.     This  may,  however,  have  been  due  to 
the  necessities  of  the  empire   at   the   time,  for 
the  treasury  of  the  state  had  been  exhausted  by 
former  rulers  ;  and  he,  being  almost  constantly 
in  the  expectation  of  civil  wars,  or  in  a  state  of 
preparation  for  them,  may  easily  be  excused  for 
having,  by  all   sorts   of  expedients,  sought  re- 
sources for  the  defense  of  the  empire. 


CHAPTER   XII. 

"  In  the  meantime,  those  bishops  with  whom 
Martin  would  not  hold  communion  went  in  ter- 
ror to  the  king,  complaining  that  they  had  been 
condemned    beforehand ;    that    it    was  all  over 
with  them  as  respected  the  status  of  every  one 
of  them,  if  the  authority  of  Martin  was  now  to 
uphold  the  pertinacity  of  Theognitus,  who  alone 
had  as  yet  condemned  them  by  a  sentence  pub- 
licly pronounced  ;   that   the  man  ought  not   to 
have  been   received    wathin  the  walls  ;   that  he 
was  now  not.  merely  the   defender   of  heretics, 
but    their    vindicator ;    and    that    nothing    had 
really  been  accomplished  by  the  death  of  Pris- 
cillian,  if  ISIartin   were    to   act  the    part  of  his 
avenger.     Finally,    prostrating    themselves   with 
weeping    and    lamentation,  they    implored    the 
emperor  ^  to  put  forth  his  power  against  this  one 
man.     And  the  emperor  was  not  far  from  being 
compelled  to  assign  to  Martin,  too,  the  doom 
of  heretics.     But  after  all,  although  he  was  dis- 
posed to  look  upon  the  bishops  with  too  great 
favor,  he  was  not  ignorant  that  Martin  excelled 
all  other  mortals    in  faith,  sanctity,  and   excel- 
lence :    he   therefore  tries  another   way   of  get- 
ting the  better  of  the  holy  man.     And  first  he 
sends  for  him  privately,  and  addresses   him  in 
the  kindest  fashion,  assuring  him  that  the  here- 
tics were  condemned  in  the  regular  course  of 
public  trials,  rather  than  by  the  persecutions  of 
the  priests ;  and  that  there  was  no  reason  why 
he  should  think  that  communion  with   Ithacius 
and  the  rest  of  that   party   was  a  thing   to  be 
condemned.       He  added    that  Theognitus  had 
created  disunion,  rather  by  personal  hatred,  than 
by  the  cause  he  supported  ;  and  that,  in  fact,  he 
was  the  only  person  who,  in  the  meantime,  had 
separated  himself  from    communion  :   while  no 
innovation    had  been    made  by   the   rest.     He 
remarked  fiirther  that  a  synod,  held  a  few  days 
previously,  had  decreed  that    Ithacius  was  not 
chargeable   with  any   fault.     When   Martin  was 
but  little   impressed  by  these    statements,   the 
king  then  became  inflamed  with  anger,  and  hur- 
ried out  of  his  presence  ;  while,  without  delay, 
executioners  are  appointed  for  those  in  whose 
behalf  Martin  had  made  supplication. 


CHAPTER   XIII. 

"When  this  became  known  to  Martin,  he 
rushed  to  the  palace,  though  it  was  now  night. 
He  pledges  himself  that,  if  these  people  were 
spared,  he  would  communicate ;  only  let  the 
tribunes,  who  had  already  been  sent  to  the 
Spains  for  the  destruction  of  the  churches,^  be 

1  "  potestatem  regiam." 


52 


DIALOGUES   OF   SULPITIUS    SEVERUS. 


recalled.  There  is  no  delay  :  Maximus  grants 
all  his  requests.  On  the  following  day,  the  or- 
dination of  f'elix  as  bishop  was  being  arranged, 
a  man  undoubtedly  of  great  sanctity,  and  truly 
worthy  of  being  made  a  priest  in  happier  times. 
Martin  took  part  in  the  communion  of  that  day, 
judging  it  better  to  yield  for  the  moment,  than 
to  disregard  the  safety  of  those  over  whose 
heads  a  sword  was  hanging.  Nevertheless,  al- 
though the  bishops  strove  to  the  uttermost  to 
get  him  to  confirm  the  fact  of  his  communi- 
cating by  signing  his  name,  he  could  not  be 
induced  to  do  so.  On  the  following  day,  hur- 
rying away  from  that  jjlace,  as  he  was  on  the 
way  returning,  he  was  filled  with  mourning  and 
lamentation  that  he  had  even  for  an  hour  been 
mixed  up  with  the  evil  communion,  and,  not  far 
from  a  village  named  Andethanna,  where  remote 
woods  stretch  ^  far  and  wide  with  profound  soli- 
tude, he  sat  down  while  his  companions  went 
on  a  little  before  him.  There  he  became  in- 
volved in  deep  thought,  alternately  accusing  and 
defending  the  cause  of  his  grief  and  conduct. 
Suddenly,  an  angel  stood  by  him  and  said, 
*  Justly,  O  Martin,  do  you  feel  compunction,  but 
you  could  not  otherwise  get  out  of  your  diflfi- 
culty.  Renew  your  virtue,  resume  your  courage, 
lest  you  not  only  now  expose  your  fame,  but 
your  very  salvation,  to  danger.'  Therefore,  from 
that  time  forward,  he  carefully  guarded  against 
being  mixed  up  in  communion  with  the  party 
of  Ithacius.  But  when  it  happened  that  he 
cured  some  of  the  possessed  more  slowly  and 
with  less  grace  than  usual,  he  at  once  confessed 
to  us  with  tears  that  he  felt  a  diminution  of  his 
power  on  account  of  the  evil  of  that  commun- 
ion in  which  he  had  taken  part  for  a  moment, 
through  necessity,  and  not  with  a  cordial  spirit. 
He  lived  sixteen  years  after  this,  but  never  again 
did  he  attend  a  synod,  and  kept  carefully  aloof 
from  all  assembUes  of  bishops. 


CHAPTER   XIV. 

"  But  very  clearly,  as  we  experienced,  he  re- 
paired, with  manifold  interest,  his  grace,  which 
had  been  diminished  for  a  time.  I  saw  after- 
wards a  possessed  person  brought  to  him  at  the 
gate  ^  of  the  monastery ;  and  that,  before  the 
man  touched  the  threshold,  he  was  cured. 

"  I  lately  heard  one  testifying  that,  when  he 
was  sailing  on  the  Tuscan  vSea,  following  that 
course  which  leads  to  Rome,  whirlwinds  having 
suddenly  arisen,  all  on  board  were  in  extreme 


'  The  text  is  here  very  corrupt:  we  have  followed  a  conjecture 
of  Halm's. 

'  "  Pseudothyrum  ":  Halm  prefers  the  form  "  pseudoforum,"  but 
the  meaning  is  the  same. 


peril  of  their  lives.  In  these  circumstances,  a 
certain  Egyptian  merchant,  who  was  not  yet  a 
Christian,  cried  out,  '  Save  us,  O  God  of  Mar- 
tin,' upon  which  the  tempest  was  immediately 
stilled,  and  they  held  their  desired  course, 
while  the  pacified  ocean  continued  in  perfect 
tranquillity. 

"  Lycontius,  a  believing  man  belonging  to  the 
lieutenants,  when  a  violent  disease  was  afflicting 
his  family,  and  sick  bodies  were  lying  all  through 
his  house  in  sad  proof  of  unheard-of  calamity, 
implored  the  help  of  Martin  by  a  letter.  At 
this  time  the  blessed  man  declared  that  the 
thing  asked  was  difficult  to  be  obtained,  for  he 
knew  in  his  spirit  that  that  house  was  then  being 
scourged  by  Divine  appointment.  Yet  he  did 
not  give  up  an  unbroken  course  of  prayer  and 
fasting  for  seven  whole  days  and  as  many  nights, 
so  that  he  at  last  obtained  that  which  he  aimed 
at  in  his  supplications.  Speedily,  Lycontius, 
having  experienced  the  Divine  kindness,  flew 
to  him,  at  once  reporting  the  fact  and  giving 
thanks,  that  his  house  had  been  delivered  from 
all  danger.  He  also  offered  a  hundred  pounds 
of  silver,  which  the  blessed  man  neither  rejected 
nor  accepted  ;  but  before  the  amount  of  money 
touched  the  threshold  of  the  monastery,  he  had, 
without  hesitation,  destined  it  for  the  redemp- 
tion of  captives.  And  when  it  was  suggested  to 
him  by  the  brethren,  that  some  portion  of  it 
should  be  reserved  for  the  expenses  of  the 
monasterv,  since  it  was  difficult  for  all  of  them 
to  obtain  necessary  food,  while  many  of  them 
were  sorely  in  need  of  clothing,  he  replied,  '  Let 
the  church  both  feed  and  clothe  us,  as  long  as 
we  do  not  appear  to  have  provided,  in  any  way, 
for  our  own  wants.' 

"  There  occur  to  my  mind  at  this  point  many 
miracles  of  that  illustrious  man,  which  it  is  more 
easy  for  us  to  admire  than  to  narrate.  You  all 
doubtless  recognize  the  truth  of  what  I  say : 
there  are  many  doings  of  his  which  cannot  be 
set  forth  in  words.  For  instance,  there  is  the 
following,  which  I  rather  think  cannot  be  re- 
lated by  us  just  as  it  took  place.  A  certain  one 
of  the  brethren  (you  are  not  ignorant  of  his 
name,  but  his  person  must  be  concealed,  lest 
we  should  cause  shame  to  a  godly  man),  —  a 
certain  one,  I  say,  having  found  abundance  of 
coals  for  his  stove,  drew  a  stool  to  himself,  and 
was  sitting,  with  outspread  legs  and  exposed 
person,  beside  that  fire,  when  Martin  at  once 
perceived  that  an  improper  thing  was  done 
under  the  sacred  roof,  and  cried  out  with  a  loud 
voice,  '  Who,  by  exposing  his  person,  is  dis- 
honoring our  habitation?'  When  our  brother 
heard  this,  and  felt  from  his  own  conscience, 
that  it  was  he  who  was  rebuked,  he  immediately 
ran  to  us  almost  in  a  fainting  condition,  and 
acknowledged  his  shame  ;  which  was  done,  how- 


DIALOGUES    OF    SULPITIUS    SEVERUS. 


53 


ever,  only  through  the  forth-putting  of  the  power 
of  Martin. 


CHAPTER  XV. 

"  Again,  on  a  certain  day,  after  he  had  sat 
down  on  that  wooden  seat  of  his  (which  you 
all  know),  placed  in  the  small  open  court 
which  surrounded  his  abode,  he  perceived  two 
demons  sitting  on  the  lofty  rock  which  over- 
hangs the  monastery.  He  then  heard  them,  in 
eager  and  gladsome  tones,  utter  the  following 
invitation,  '  Come  hither,  Brictio,  come  hither, 
Brictio.'  I  believe  they  perceived  the  miser- 
able man  approaching  from  a  distance,  being 
conscious  how  great  frenzy  of  spirit  they  had 
excited  within  him.  Nor  is  there  any  delay  : 
Brictio  rushes  in  in  absolute  fury ;  and  there, 
full  of  madness,  he  vomits  forth  a  thousand  re- 
proaches against  Martin.  For  he  had  been 
reproved  by  him  on  the  previous  day,  because 
he  who  had  possessed  nothing  before  he  entered 
the  clerical  office,  having,  in  fact,  been  brought 
up  in  the  monastery  by  Martin  himself,  was  now 
keeping  horses  and  purchasing  slaves.  For  at 
that  time,  he  was  accused  by  many  of  not  only 
having  bought  boys  belonging  to  barbarous 
nations,  but  girls  also  of  a  comely  appearance. 
The  miserable  man,  moved  with  bitter  rage  on 
account  of  these  things,  and,  as  I  believe,  chiefly 
instigated  by  the  impulse  received  from  those 
demons,  made  such  an  onset  upon  Martin  as 
scarcely  to  refrain  from  laying  hands  upon  him. 
The  holy  man,  on  his  part,  with  a  placid  coun- 
tenance and  a  tranquil  mind,  endeavored  by 
gentle  words  to  restrain  the  madness  of  the  un- 
happy wretch.  But  the  spirit  of  wickedness  so 
prevailed  within  him,  that  not  even  his  own 
mind,  at  best  a  very  vain  one,  was  under  his 
control.  With  trembling  Ups,  and  a  changing 
countenance,  pale  with  rage,  he  rolled  forth  the 
words  of  sin,  asserting  that  he  was  a  holier  man 
than  Martin  who  had  brought  him  up,  inasmuch 
as  from  his  earliest  years  he  had  grown  up  in 
the  monastery  amid  the  sacred  institutions  of 
the  Church,  while  Martin  had  at  first,  as  he  could 
not  deny,  been  tarnished  with  the  life  of  a  sol- 
dier, and  had  now  entirely  sunk  into  dotage  by 
means  of  his  baseless  superstitions,  and  ridiculous 
fancies  about  visions.  After  he  had  uttered 
many  things  like  these,  and  others  of  a  still  more 
bitter  nature,  which  it  is  better  not  to  mention, 
going  out,  at  length,  when  his  rage  was  satisfied, 
he  seemed  to  feel  as  if  he  had  completely  vin- 
dicated his  conduct.  But  with  rapid  steps  he 
rushed  back  by  the  way  he  had  gone  out,  the 
demons  having,  I  believe,  been,  in  the  mean- 
time, driven  from  his  heart  by  the  prayers  of 
Martin,  and  he  was  now  brought  back  to  re- 


pentance. Speedily,  then,  he  returns,  and  throws 
himself  at  the  feet  of  Martin,  begging  for  pardon 
and  confessing  his  error,  while,  at  length  restored 
to  a  better  mind,  he  acknowledges  that  he  had 
been  under  the  influence  of  a  demon.  It  was 
no  difficult  business  for  Martin  to  forgive  the 
suppliant.  And  then  the  holy  man  explained 
both  to  him  and  to  us  all,  how  he  had  seen  him 
driuen  on  by  demons,  and  declared  that  he  was 
not  moved  by  the  reproaches  which  had  been 
heaped  upon  him  ;  for  they  had,  in  fact,  rather 
injured  the  man  who  uttered  them.  And  sub- 
sequently, when  this  same  Brictio  was  often 
accused  before  him  of  many  and  great  crimes, 
Martin  could  not  be  induced  to  remove  him 
from  the  presbyterate,  lest  he  should  be  sus- 
pected of  revenging  the  injury  done  to  himself, 
while  he  often  repeated  this  saying  :  '  If  Christ 
bore  with  Judas,  why  should  not  I  bear  with 
Brictio?'" 

CHAPTER   XVI. 

Upon  this,  Postumianus  exclaims,  "  Let  that 
well-known  man  in  our  immediate  neighborhood, 
listen  to  that  example,  who,  when  he  is  wise, 
takes  no  notice  either  of  things  present  or  future, 
but  if  he  has  been  offended,  falls  into  utter  fury, 
having  no  control  over  himself.  He  then  rages 
against  the  clerics,  and  makes  bitter  attacks 
upon  the  laity,  while  he  stirs  up  the  whole  world 
for  his  own  revenge.  He  will  continue  in  this 
state  of  contention  for  three  years  without  inter- 
mission, and  refuse  to  be  mollified  either  by 
time  or  reason.  The  condition  of  the  man  is  to 
be  lamented  and  pitied,  even  if  this  were  the 
only  incurable  evil  by  which  he  is  afflicted.  But 
you  ought,  my  Gallic  friend,  to  have  frequently 
recalled  to  his  mind  such  examples  of  patience 
and  tranquillity,  that  he  might  know  both  how  to 
be  angry  and  how  to  forgive.  And  if  he  hap- 
pens to  hear  of  this  speech  of  mine  which  has 
been  briefly  interpolated  into  our  discourse,  and 
directed  against  himself,  let  him  know  that  I 
spoke,  not  more  with  the  lips  of  an  enemy  than 
the  mind  of  a  friend  ;  because  I  should  wish,  if 
the  thing  were  possible,  that  he  should  be  spoken 
of  rather  as  being  like  the  bishop  Martin,  than 
the  tyrant  Phalaris.  But  let  us  pass  away  from 
him,  since  the  mention  of  him  is  far  from  pleas- 
ant, and  let  us  return,  O  Gaul,  to  our  friend 
Martin." 


CHAPTER    XVII. 

Then  said  I,  since  I  perceived  by  the  setting 
sun  that  evening  was  at  hand  :  "  The  day  is 
gone,  Postumianus ;  we  must  rise  up ;  and  at 
the  same  time  some  refreshment  is  due  to  these 


54 


DIALOGUES    OF    SULPITIUS    SEVERUS. 


so  zealous  listeners.  And  as  to  Martin,  you 
ought  not  to  expect  that  there  is  any  limit  to 
one  talking  about  him  :  he  extends  too  far  to  be 
comprised  fully  in  any  conversation.  In  the 
meantime,  you  will  convey  to  the  East  the 
things  you  have  now  heard  about  that  famous 
man ;  and  as  you  retrace  your  steps  to  your 
former  haunts,  and  pass  along  by  various  coasts, 
places,  harbors,  islands,  and  seas,  see  that  «you 
spread  among  the  peoples  the  name  and  glory  of 
Martin.  Especially  remember  that  you  do  not 
omit  Campania  ;  and  although  your  route  will 
take  you  for  off  the  beaten  track,  still  any  ex- 
penditure from  delay  will  not  be  to  you  of  so 
much  importance  as  to  keep  you  from  visiting 
in  that  quarter  Paulinus,  a  man  renowned  and 
praised  throughout  the  whole  world.  I  beg  you 
first  to  unroll  to  him  the  volume  of  discourse 
which  we  either  completed  yesterday,  or  have 
said  to-day.  You  will  relate  all  to  him ;  you 
will  repeat  all  to  him ;  that  in  due  time,  by 
his  means,  Rome  may  learn  the  sacred  merits 
of  this  man,  just  as  he  spread  that  first  little 
book  of  ours  not  only  through  Italy,  but  even 
through  the  whole  of  Illyria.  He,  not  jealous 
of  the  glories  of  Martin,  and  being  a  most  pious 
admirer  of  his  saintly  excellences  in  Christ,  will 
not  refuse  to  compare  our  leading  man  with  his 
own  friend  Felix.  Next,  if  you  happen  to  cross 
over  to  Africa,  you  will  relate  what  you  have 
heard  to  Carthage ;  and,  although,  as  you 
yourself  have  said,  it  already  knows  the  man, 
yet  now  pre-eminently  it  will  learn  more  respect- 
ing him,  that  it  may  not  admire  its  own  martyr 
Cyprian  alone,  although  consecrated  by  his  sa- 
cred blood.  And  then,  if  carried  down  a  little 
to  the  left,  you  enter  the  gulf  of  Achaia,  let 
Corinth  know,  and  let  Athens  know,  that  Plato 
in  the  academy  was  not  wiser,  and  that  Socrates 
in  the  prison  was  not  braver,  than  Martin.  You 
will  say  to  them  that  Greece  was  indeed  happy 
which  was  thought  worthy  to  listen  to  an  apostle 
pleading,  but  that  Christ  has  by  no  means  for- 
saken Gaul,  since  he  has  granted  it  to  possess 


such  a  man  as  Martin.  But  when  you  have 
come  as  far  as  Egypt,  although  it  is  justly  proud 
of  the  numbers  and  virtues  of  its  own  saints, 
yet  let  it  not  disdain  to  hear  how  Europe  will 
not  yield  to  it,  or  to  all  Asia,  in  having  only 
Martin. 

CHAPTER   XVIII. 

"  But  when  you  have  again  set  sail  from  that 
place  with  the  view  of  making  for  Jerusalem,  I 
enjoin  upon  you  a  duty  connected  with  our 
grief,  that,  if  you  ever  come  to  the  shore  of  re- 
nowned Ptolemais,  you  enquire  most  carefully 
where  Pomponius,  that  friend  of  ours,  is  buried, 
and  that  you  do  not  refuse  to  visit  his  remains 
on  that  foreign  soil.  There  shed  many  tears,  as 
much  from  the  working  of  your  own  feelings,  as 
from  our  tender  affection ;  and  although  it  is 
but  a  worthless  gift,  scatter  the  ground  there 
with  purple  flowers  and  sweet-smelling  grass. 
And  you  will  say  to  him,  but  not  roughly,  and 
not  harshly,  —  with  the  address  of  one  who  sym- 
pathizes, and  not  with  the  tone  of  one  who  re- 
proaches, —  that  if  he  had  only  been  willing  to 
listen  to  you  at  one  time,  or  to  me  constantly, 
and  if  he  had  invited  Martin  rather  than  that 
man  whom  I  am  unwilling  to  name,  he  would 
never  have  been  so  cruelly  separated  from  me, 
or  covered  by  a  heap  of  unknown  dust,  having 
suffered  death  in  the  midst  of  the  sea  with  the 
lot  of  a  ship-wrecked  pirate,  and  with  difficulty 
securing  burial  on  a  far-distant  shore.  Let  those 
behold  this  as  their  own  work,  who,  in  seeking 
to  revenge  him,  have  wished  to  injure  me,  let 
them  behold  their  own  glory,  and  being  avenged, 
let  them  henceforth  cease  to  make  any  attacks 
upon  me." 

Having  uttered  these  sad  words  in  a  very 
mournful  voice,  and  while  the  tears  of  all  the 
others  were  drawn  forth  by  our  laments,  we  at 
length  departed,  certainly  with  a  profound  ad- 
miration for  Martin,  but  with  no  less  sorrow  from 
our  own  lamentations. 


THE    DOUBTFUL    LETTERS    OF    SULPITIUS 

SEVERUS. 


-00)^00- 


LETTER    I. 

A  LETTER  OF  THE  HOLY  PRESBYTER  SEVERUS  TO 
HIS  SISTER  CLAUDIA  CONCERNING  THE  LAST 
JUDGMENT. 

CHAPTER   I. 

On  reading  your  letters,  my  feelings  were, 
in  many  ways,  deeply  moved,  and  I  could  not 
refrain  from  tears.  For  I  both  wept  for  joy 
because  I  could  perceive  from  the  very  language 
of  your  letters,  that  you  were  living  according 
to  the  precepts  of  the  Lord  God,  and  out  of 
my  exceeding  desire  after  you,  I  could  not  help 
lamenting  that,  without  any  fault  on  my  part,  I 
was  parted  from  you  ;  and  I  would  have  felt 
this  still  more  strongly  had  you  not  sent  me  a 
letter.  Should  I  not,  then,  enjoy  the  company 
of  such  a  sister?  But  I  call  your  salvation  to 
witness,  that  I  have  very  often  wished  to  come 
to  you,  but  have  up  till  now  been  prevented, 
through  the  opposition  of  him  ^  who  is  accus- 
tomed to  hinder  us.  For,  in  my  eager  desire, 
I  was  both  urgent  to  satisfy  my  wishes  by  seeing 
you ;  and  we  seemed,  if  we  should  meet,  likely 
to  accomplish  more  effectually  the  work  of  the 
Lord,  since  by  comforting  one  another  we  should 
live  with  the  heavy  load  of  this  world  trodden 
under  our  feet.  But  I  do  not  now  fix  the  day 
or  time  of  visiting  you,  because,  as  often  as  I 
have  done  so,  I  have  not  been  able  to  fulfil  my 
purpose.  I  shall  wait  on  the  will  of  the  Lord, 
and  hope  that,  by  my  supplications  and  your 
prayers,  he  may  bring  it  about  that  we  reap 
some  advantage  from  our  perseverance." 


CHAPTER   IL 

But  because  you  have  desired  from  me  in  all 
my  letters  which  I  had  sent  to  you  precepts  to 
nourish  your  life  and  faith,  it  has  come  to  pass 

■  It  is  obvious  that,  in  this  whole  passage,  Sulpitius  has  in  his 
mind  the  language  of  St.  Paul,  Rom.  i.  9-12. 

^  Halm  reads  prceseiitia,  instead  of  the  old  reading  perseve- 
raniia,  but  apparently  without  good  grounds. 


that,  through  the  frequency  of  my  writings  to 
you,  I  have  now  exhausted  language  of  that 
kind  ;  and  I  can  really  write  nothing  new  to  you, 
so  as  to  avoid  what  I  have  written  before.  And 
in  truth,  through  the  goodness  of  God,  you  do 
not  now  need  to  be  exhorted,  inasmuch  as,  per- 
fecting your  faith  at  the  very  beginning  of  your 
saintly  life,  you  display  a  devoted  love  in  Christ. 
One  thing,  however,  I  do  press  upon  you,  that 
you  do  not  go  back  on  things  you  have  already 
passed  away  from,  that  you  do  not  long  again 
for  things  you  have  already  scorned,  and  that, 
having  put  your  hand  to  the  plow,  you  do  not 
look  back'  again,  retracing  your  steps;  for,  un- 
doubtedly, by  falling  into  this  fault,  your  furrow 
will  lose  its  straightness,  and  the  cultivator  will 
not  receive  his  own  proper  reward.  Moreover, 
he  does  not  secure  even  a  measure  of  the 
reward,  if  he  has,  in  a  measure,  failed.  For,  as 
we  must  flee  from  sin  to  righteousness,  so  he 
who  has  entered  on  the  practice  of  righteousness 
must  beware  lest  he  lay  himself  open  to  sin. 
For  it  is  written  that  "  his  righteousness  shall 
not  profit  the  righteous  on  the  day  on  which  he 
has  gone  astray."  -  For  this,  then,  we  must  take 
our  stand,  for  this  we  must  labor,  that  we,  who 
have  escaped  from  sins,  do  not  lose  the  pre- 
pared rewards.  For  the  enemy  stands  ready 
against  us,  that  he  may  at  once  strike  the  man 
who  has  been  stripped  of  the  shield  of  faith. 
Our  shield,  therefore,  is  not  to  be  cast  aside,  lest 
our  side  be  exposed  to  attack ;  and  our  sword 
is  not  to  be  put  away,  lest  the  enemy  then  begin 
to  give  up  all  fear :  moreover,  we  know  that  if 
he  sees  a  man  fully  armed,  he  will  retreat.  Nor 
are  we  ignorant  that  it  is  a  hard  and  difficult 
thing  daily  to  fight  against  the  flesh  and  the 
world.  But  if  you  reflect  upon  eternity,  and  if 
you  consider  the  kingdom  of  heaven,  which  un- 
doubtedly the  Lord  will  condescend  to  bestow 
upon  us  although  we  are  sinners,  what  suffering, 
I  ask,  is  sufficiently  great,  by  which  we  may 
merit  such  things?  And  besides,  our  struggle 
in  this  world  is  but  for  a  short  time  ;  for  al- 
though death  do  not  speedily  overtake  us,  old 

'  Luke  ix.  62. 
-  Ezek.  xviii.  24. 


LETTERS  OE  SULPITIUS  SEVERUS  (Doubtful).' 


age  will  come.  The  years  flow  on,  and  time 
glides  by ;  while,  as  I  hope,  the  Lord  Jesus  will 
speedily  call  us  to  himself,  as  being  dear  to  his 
heart. 

CHAPTER   III. 

O  HOW  happy  shall  be  that  departure  of  ours, 
when  Christ  shall  receiv'e  us  into  his  own  abode 
after  we  have  been  purged  ^  from  the  stains  of 
sin  through  the  experience-  of  a  better  life! 
INIartyrs  and  prophets  will  meet  with  us,  apostles 
will  join  themselves  to  us,  angels  will  be  glad, 
archangels  will  rejoice,  and  Satan,  being  con- 
quered, will  look  pale,  though  still  retaining  his 
cruel  countenance,  inasmuch  as  he  will  lose  all  ^ 
advantage  from  our  sins  which  he  had  secured 
for  himself  in  us.  He  will  see  glory  granted  us 
through  mercy,  and  merits  honored  by  means  of 
glory.  We  shall  triumph  over  our  conquered 
foe.  Where  shall  now  the  wise  men  of  the  world 
appear  ?  Where  shall  the  covetous  man,  where 
shall  the  adulterer,  where  shall  the  irreligious, 
where  shall  the  drunkard,  where  shall  the  evil- 
speaker  be  recognized?  What  shall  these 
wretched  beings  say  in  their  own  defense?  "We 
did  not  know  thee,  Lord  ;  we  did  not  see  that 
thou  wast  in  the  world  :  thou  didst  not  send  the 
prophets  :  thou  didst  not  give  the  law  to  the 
world  :  we  did  not  see.  the  patriarchs  :  we  did 
not  read  the  lives  of  the  saints.  Thy  Christ 
never  was  upon  the  earth  :  Peter  was  silent : 
Paul  refused  to  preach  :  no  Evangelist  taught. 
There  were  no  martyrs  whose  example  we  should 
follow  :  no  one  predicted  thy  future  judgment : 
no  one  commanded  us  to  clothe  the  poor :  no 
one  enjoined  us  to  restrain  lust :  no  one  per- 
suaded us  to  fight  against  covetousness  :  we  fell 
through  ignorance,  not  knowing  what  we  did." 


CHAPTER   IV. 

Against  these,  from  among  the  company  of 
the  saints,  righteous  Noah  shall  first  proclaim, 
"  I,  Lord,  predicted  that  a  deluge  was  about  to 
come  on  account  of  the  sins  of  men,  and  after 
the  deluge  I  set  an  example  to  the  good  in  my 
own  person ;  since  I  did  not  perish  with  the 
wicked  who  perished,  that  they  might  know  both 
what  was  the  salvation  of  the  innocent,  and  what 
the  punishment  of  sinners."  After  him,  faithfiil 
Abraham  will    say   in    opposition   to   them,  "  I, 

1  Clericus  here  remarks  that  "  these  words  clearly  teach  us  that 
Severus  knew  of  no  other  purgation  than  that  by  which  we  are 
cleansed  in  this  life  from  sin  by  a  change  of  character,  and  which 
change  if  we  steadily  maintain,  then,  when  life  is  ended,  we  are 
received  into  the  abode  of  Christ,  witliout  any  dread  of  the  fire  of 
purgatory." 

^  "  conversatione." 

'  Having  led  us  into  sin  that  we  might  be  condemned  along  with 
himself.     The  meaning,  however,  is  obscure. 


Lord,  about  the  mid-time^  of  the  age  of  the 
world,  laid  the  foundation  of  the  faith  by  which 
the  human  race  should  believe  in  thee  ;  I  was 
chosen  as  the  father  of  the  nations,  that  they 
might  follow  my  example ;  I  did  not  hesitate, 
Lord,  to  offer  Isaac,  while  yet  a  youth,  as  a  sac- 
rifice to  thee,  that  they  might  understand  that 
there  is  nothing  which  ought  not  to  be  presented 
to  the  Lord,  when  they  perceived  that  I  did  not 
spare  even  my  only  son  :  I  left.  Lord,  my  coun- 
try, and  my  family,  at  thy  command,  that  they 
also  might  have  an  example  teaching  them  to 
leave  the  wickedness  of  the  world  and  the  age  : 
I,  Lord,  was  the  first  to  recognize  thee,  though 
under  a  corporeal"  form,  nor  did  I  hesitate  to 
believe  who  it  was  that  I  beheld,  although  thou 
didst  appear  to  me  in  a  different  form  from 
thine  own,  that  these  might  learn  to  judge,  not  ac- 
cording to  the  flesh,  but  according  to  the  spirit." 
Him  the  blessed  Moses  will  support  in  his  plead- 
ings, saying :  "  I  Lord,  delivered  the  law  to  all 
these,  at  thy  command,  that  those  whom  a  free  '^ 
faith  did  not  influence,  the  spoken  law  at  least 
might  restrain:  I  said,  'Thou  shalt  not ^  com- 
mit adultery,'  in  order  that  I  might  prevent  the 
licentiousness  of  fornication  :  I  said, '  Thou  shalt 
love^  thy  neighbor,'  that  affection  might  abound  ; 
I  said,  '  Thou  shalt  worship  the  Lord  alone,'  ^ 
in  order  that  these  might  not  sacrifice  to  idols, 
or  allow  temples  to  exist;  I  commanded  that 
false  witness  should  not  be  spoken,  that  I  might 
shut  the  lips  of  these  people  against  all  falsehood. 
I  set  forth  the  things  which  had  been  done  and 
said  from  the  beginning  of  the  world,  through 
the  working  within  me  of  the  spirit  of  thy 
power,  that  a  knowledge  of  things  past  might 
convey  to  these  people  instruction  about  things 
to  come.  I  predicted,  O  Lord  Jesus,  thy  com- 
ing, that  it  might  not  be  an  unexpected  thing  to 
these  people,  when  they  were  called  to  acknowl- 
edge him  whom  I  had  before  announced  as 
about  to  come." 


CHAPTER   V. 

After  him,  there  will  stand  up  David  worthy 
of  his  descendant  the  Lord,  and  declare  :  "  I, 
Lord,  proclaimed  thee  by  every  means ;  I  set 
forth  that  only  thy  name  was  to  be  worshiped ; 
I  said,  '  Blessed  is  the  man  ^  who  fears  .the 
I,ord ' ;  I  said  too,  'The  saints  shall  "be  joyful 
in   glory ' ;    and   I    said,   '  The    desire    of    the 

'  Abraham  lived  (in  round  numbers)  about  2000  years  B.C.,  and 
assuming  the  beginning  of  the  world  to  have  been  about  4000  years 
B.C.,  he  may  thus  be  said  to  have  lived  aboiit  "  the  mid-time."  The 
note  of  Clericus  which  refers  the  words  to  the  cnd^ci  the  world 
seems  quite  mistaken. 

-  The  reference  is  to  Gen.  xviii. 

■>  A  faith  having  no  regard  to  either  rewards  or  punishments. 

*  Ex.  .\x.  14.  "  Kx.  XX.  3,  &c. 

''  Lev.  xix.  18.  '  Ps.  cxi.  i. 

"  Deut.  vi.  13.  '  Ps.  cxlix.  5. 


LETTERS   OF   SULPITIUS   SEVERUS   (Doubtful). 


57 


wicked^  shall  perish,'  that  these  people  might 
acknowledge  thee  and  cease  to  sin.  I,  when 
I  had  become  possessed  of  royal  power,  clothed 
in  sackcloth,  with  dust  spread  beneath  me,  and 
with  the  emblems  of  my  greatness  laid  aside,  lay 
down  in  my  clothes,  that  an  example  might  be 
given  to  these  people  of  gentleness  and  humility. 
I  spared  my  enemies  who  desired  to  slay  me, 
that  these  people  might  approve  of  my  merciful- 
ness, as  worthy  of  being  imitated."  After  him, 
Isaiah,  who  was  worthy  of  the  Spirit  of  God, 
will  not  be  silent ;  but  will  say :  ''  I,  Lord, 
whilst  thou  wast  speaking  through  my  mouth, 
gave  this  warning,  —  'Woe  to  those''  who  join 
house  to  house,'  that  I  might  set  a  limit  to 
covetousness.  I  bore  witness  that  thine  anger 
came  upon  the  wicked,  that  at  any  rate  fear  of 
punishment,  if  not  hope  of  reward,  might  keep 
back  these  people  from  their  evil  deeds." 


CHAPTER   VI. 

After  these,  and  several  others  who  have 
discharged  for  us  the  duties  of  instruction,  the 
Son  of  God  himself  will  speak  thus  :  "  I,  cer- 
tainly, exalted  on  a  lofty  seat,  holding  heaven 
in  my  hand,  and  the  earth  in  my  fist,  extended 
within  and  without,  in  the  inside  of  all  things 
which  are  produced,  and  on  the  outside  of  all ' 
things  that  move,  inconceivable,  infinite  in  the 
power  -  of  nature,  invisible  to  sight,  inaccessible 
to  touch,  in  order  that  I  might  exist  as  the  least 
of  you  (for  the  purpose  of  subduing  the  hard- 
ness of  your  heart  and  for  softening  your  faith- 
lessness by  sound  doctrines),  condescended  to 
be  born  in  flesh,  and,  having  laid  aside  the  glory 
of  God,  I  assumed  the  form  of  a  servant,  so  that, 
sharing  with  you  in  bodily  infirmity,  I  might  in 
turn  bring  you  to  a  participation  in  iny  glory, 
through  obedience  to  the  precept  of  salvation. 
I  restored  health  to  the  sick  and  infirm,  hearing 
to  the  deaf,  sight  to  the  blind,  the  power  of 
speech  to  the  dumb,  and  the  use  of  their  feet 
to  the  lame ;  that  I  might  influence  you,  by 
heavenly  signs,  all  the  more  easily  to  believe  in 
me,  and  in  those  things  which  I  had  announced, 
I  promised  you  the  kingdom  of  heaven ;  I  also, 
in  order  that  you  might  have  an  example  of 
escape  from  punishment,  placed  in  Paradise  the 
robber  who  acknowledged  me  almost  at  the 
moment  of  his  death,  that  ye  might  follow  even 
the  faith  of  him  who  had  been  thought  worthy 
of  having  his  sins  forgiven  him.  And  that  by 
my  example  in  your  behalf,  ye  yourselves  also 
might  be  able  to  suffer ;  I  suffered  for  you,  that 


3  Ps.  cxii.  lo.  <  Isa.  v.  8. 

'  The  divine  omnipresence  is  here  denoted. 
.  ^  P"".'  according  to  another  punctuation,  "  inconceivable  in  nature, 
unnite  in  power." 


no  man  might  hesitate  to  suffer  for  himself  what 
God^  had  endured  for  man.  I  showed  myself 
after  my  resurrection,  in  order  that  your  faith 
might  not  be  overthrown.  I  admonished  the 
Jews  in  the  person  of  Peter ;  I  preached  to  the 
Gentiles  in  the  person  of  Paul ;  and  I  do 
not  regret  doing  so,  for  good  results  followed. 
The  good  have  understood  my  work ;  the  faith- 
ful have  perfected  it ;  the  righteous  have  com- 
pleted it ;  the  merciful  have  consummated  it : 
there  have  been  a  large  number  of  martyrs,  and 
a  large  number  of  saints.  Those  to  whom  I 
thus  refer  were  undoubtedly  in  the  same  body 
and  in  the  same  world  as  you.  Why,  then,  do 
I  find  no  good  work  in  you,  ye  descendants  of 
vipers  ?  Ye  have  shown  no  repentance  for  your 
wicked  deeds,  even  at  the  very  end  of  your 
earthly  course.  And  what  does  it  profit  that  ye 
honor  me  with  your  lips,  when  you  deny  me  \sy 
your  deeds  and  works?  Where  are  now  your 
riches,  where  your  honors,  where  your  powers, 
and  where  your  pleasures?  I  pronounce  no 
new  sentence  over  you  :  you  simply  incur  the 
judgment  which  I  formerly  predicted." 


CHAPTER   VII. 

Then  will  the  Evangelist  repeat  this  to  the 
wretched  beings,  "  Go  ye  ^  into  outer  dark- 
ness, where  shall  be  weeping  and  gnashing  of 
teeth."  O  ye  miserable  men,  whom  these  words 
do  not  now  impress  !  They  shall  then  see  their 
own  punishment,  and  the  glory  of  others.  Let 
them  use  this  present  world,  provided  they  do 
not  enjoy  that  eternity  which  is  prepared  for  the 
saints.  Let  them  abound  in  riches  :  let  them 
rest  on  gold  ;  provided  that  there  they  be  found 
needy  and  destitute.  Let  them  be  wealthy  in 
this  world,  provided  they  be  poor  in  eternity, 
for  it  is  written  regarding  them,  "The  rich  were 
in- want,  and  suffered  hunger."  But  the  Scrip- 
ture has  added  what  follows  respecting  the  good, 
—  "  but  those  who  seek  the  Lord  shall  not  want 
any  good  thing." 

Therefore,  my  sister,  although  those  people 
mock  at  us,  and  although  they  call  us  foolish 
and  unhappy,  let  us  all  the  more  joyfiilly  exult 
in  such  reproaches,  by  which  glory  is  heaped  up 
for  us,  and  punishment  for  them.  And  do  not 
let  us  laugh  at  their  folly,  but  rather  grieve  over 
their  unhappiness ;  because  there  is  among 
them  a  large  number  of  our  own  people,  whom 
if  we  win  over,  our  glory  shall  be  increased. 
But  howevefthey  may   conduct   themselves,  let 


*  Cleritiis  thinks  this  expression  unscriptural,  and  fitted  to  sup- 
port heresy.  But  it  may  be  justified  by  such  a  passage  as  Acts  xx. 
28,  if  fleoO  be  accepted  as  the  correct  reading,  which  is  now  generally 
agreed  upon. 

1  St.  Matt.  xxii.  13. 

2  Ps.  xxxiv.  10:  the  above  rendering  entirely  departs  from  the 
Hebrew  text. 


58 


LETTERS    OF    SULPITIUS    SEVERUS    (Doubtful). 


them  be  to  us  as  Gentiles  and  publicans  ;  but 
let  us  keep  ourselves  safe  and  sound.  If  they 
rejoice  now  over  us  lamenting,  it  will  be  our 
turn  afterwards  to  rejoice  over  their  suffering. 
Farewell,  dearest  sister,  and  tenderly  beloved  in 
Christ. 


LETTER    II. 

A    LETTER    OF     SULPITIUS     SEVERUS    TO    HIS    SISTER 
CLAUDIA    CONCERNING    VIRGINITY. 

CHAPTER   I. 

How  great  blessedness,  among  heavenly  gifts, 
belongs  to  holy  virginity,  besides  the  testimonies 
of  the  Scriptures,  we  learn  also  from  the  prac- 
tice of  the  Church,  by  which  we  are  taught  that 
a  peculiar  merit  belongs  to  those  who  have  de- 
voted themselves  to  it  by  special  consecration. 
For  while    the  whole    multitude    of  those  that 
believe  receive  equal  gifts  of  grace,  and  all  re- 
joice in  the  same   blessings   of  the   sacraments, 
those  who  are  virgins  possess  something  above 
the  rest,  since,  out  of  the  holy  and  unstained 
company  of  the  Church,  they  are  chosen  by  the 
Holy  Spirit,  and  are  presented  by  the  bishop  ^ 
at  the  altar  of  God,  as  if  being  more  holy  and 
pure  sacrifices,  on  account  of  the  merits  of  their 
voluntary  dedication.     This  is  truly  a  sacrifice 
worthy  of  God,  inasmuch  as  it  is  the  offering  of 
so  precious  a  being,  and  none  will  please  him 
more  than  the  sacrifice  of  his  own  image.     For 
I  think  that  the  Apostle  especially  referred  to  a 
sacrifice  of  this  kind,  when   he    said,  "  Now,  1 
beseech  you,  brethren,  by  the   mercy  cf  God, 
that  you  present  your  bodies  a  living  sacrifice, 
holy  and  acceptable  -  to  God."    Virginity,  there- 
fore, possesses  both  that  which  others  have,  and 
that   which   others   have  not ;    while   it   obtains 
both  common  and    special  grace,   and  rejoices 
(so  to  speak)  in  its  own   peculiar   privilege  of 
consecration.     For   ecclesiastical  authority  per- 
mits us  to  style  virgins  also  the  brides  of  Christ ; 
while,  after  the  manner  of  brides,  it  veils  those 
whom  it  consecrates  to  the  Lord,  openly  exhib- 
iting those  as  very  especially  about   to  possess 
spiritual  marriage  who  have  fled  away  from  car- 
nal fellowship.     And  those  are  worthily  united, 
after  a  spiritual  manner,  to  God,  in  accordance 
with  the  analogy  of  marriage,  who,  from  love  to 
him,  have  set  at   nought  human  alliances.     In 
their  case,  that  saying  of  the  aposde  finds  its 
fullest  possible  fulfillment,  "  He  who  is  joined 
to  the  Lord,^  is  one  spirit." 

'  "  per  siimmum  sacerdotem." 
'  Rom.  xii.  i. 
'  I  Cor.  vi.  !■;. 


CHAPTER   II. 

For  it  is  a  great  and  a  divine  thing,  almost 
beyond  a  corporeal  nature,  to  lay  aside '  luxury, 
and  to  extinguish,  by  strength  of  mind,  the 
flame  of  concupiscence,  kindled  by  the  torch  of 
youth  ;  to  put  down  by  spiritual  effort  the  force 
of  natural  delight ;  to  live  in  opposition  to  the 
practice  of  the  human  race  ;  to  despise  the 
comforts  of  wedlock ;  to  disdain  the  sweet  en- 
joyments derived  from  children  ;  and  to  regard 
as  nothing,  in  the  hope  of  future  blessedness, 
everything  that  is  reckoned  among  the  advan- 
tages of  this  present  life.  This  is,  as  I  have 
said,  a  great  and  admirable  virtue,  and  is  not 
undeservedly  destined  to  a  vast  reward,  in  pro- 
portion to  the  greatness  of  its  labor.  The 
Scripture  says,  "  I  will  give  to  the  eunuchs,  saith 
the  Lord,  a  place  in  my  house  and  within  my 
walls,  a  place  counted  better  than-  sons  and 
daughters  ;  I  will  give  them  an  eternal  name, 
and  it  shaU  not^  fail."  The  Lord  again  speaks 
concerning  such  enunchs  in  the  Gospel,  saying, 
"  For  there  are  eunuchs  who  have  made  them- 
selves eunuchs  for  the  kingdom  of  heaven's 
sake."^  Great,  indeed,  is  the  struggle  con- 
nected with  chastity,  but  greater  is  the  reward  ; 
the  restraint  is  temporal,  but  the  reward  will 
be  eternal.  For  the  blessed  Apostle  John  also 
speaks  concerning  these,  saying  that  ''  they  fol- 
low the  Lamb  whithersoever  he  goeth."^  This, 
I  think,  is  to  be  understood  to  the  following 
effect,  that  there  will  be  no  place  in  the  court  of 
heaven  closed  against  them,  but  that  all  the 
habitations  of  the  divine  mansions  will  be  thrown 
open  before  them. 


CHAPTER   III. 

But  that  the  merit  of  virginity  may  shine 
forth  more  clearly,  and  that  there  may  be  a 
better  understanding  as  to  how  worthy  it  is  of 
God,  let  this  be  considered,  that  the  Lord  God, 
our  Saviour,  when,  for  the  salvation  of  the  human 
race,  he  condescended  to  assume  mankind,  chose 
no  other  than  a  virgin's  womb,  that  he  might 
show  how  virtue  of  this  kind  especially  pleased 
him  ;  and  that  he  might  point  out  the  blessed- 
ness of  chastity  to  both  sexes,  he  had  a  virgin 
mother,  while  he  himself  was  ever  to  remain  in 
a  like  condition.  He  thus  furnished  in  his  own 
person  to  men,  and  in  the  person  of  his  mother 
to  women,  an  example  of  virginity,  by  which  it 
might  be  proved,  with  respect  to  both  sexes, 
that  the  blessed  state  of  purity  possessed  the 

'  "  sopire  hixuriam,"  lit.  to  put  to  sleep. 

2  "a  filiis  ct  fillabus":  a  mistaken  rendering   of  the  Hebrew 


text. 


3  Isa.  Ivi.  5. 


*  Matt.  xix.  12. 


o  Rev.  xiv.  4. 


LETTERS   OF   SULPITIUS   SEVERUS   (Doubtful). 


59 


xuUness  of  divinity/  for  whatever  dwelt  in  the  Son 
was  also  wholly  in  the  mother.  But  why  should 
I  take  pains  to  make  known  the  excellent  and 
surpassing  merit  of  chastity,  and  to  set  forth  the 
glorious  good  of  virginity,  when  I  am  not  igno- 
rant thatmany  have  discoursed  on  this  subject, 
and  have  proved  its  blessedness  by  most  con- 
clusive reasons,  and  since  it  can  never  be  a  mat- 
ter of  doubt  to  any  reflecting  mind,  that  a  thing 
has  all  the  more  merit,  the  more  difficult  it  is  of 
accomplishment?  For  if  any  one  judges  chas- 
tity to  be  of  no  moment  or  only  of  small  con- 
sequence, it  is  certain  that  he  is  either  ignorant 
of  the  matter,  or  is  not  willing  to  incur  the 
trouble  it  implies.  Hence  it  comes  to  pass 
that  those  always  derogate  from  the  importance 
of  chastity,  who  either  do  not  possess  it,  or  who 
are  unwillingly  compelled  to  maintain  it. 


CHAPTER   IV. 

Now,  therefore,  since  we  have  set  forth,  al- 
though in  few  words,  both  the  difficulty  and  the 
merit  of  purity,  great  care  must  be  taken  lest  a 
matter  which  in  itself  implies  great  virtue,  and 
is  also  destined  to  a  vast  reward,  should  fail  to 
produce  its  proper  fruits.  For  the  more  pre- 
cious every  sort  of  thing  is,  the  more  it  is 
guarded  with  anxious  solicitude.  And  since 
there  are  many  things  which  fail  to  secure  their 
proper  excellence,  unless  they  are  assisted  by 
the  aid  of  other  things,  as  is,  for  instance,  the 
case  with  honey,  which,  unless  it  is  preserved  by 
the  protection  of  Avax,  and  by  the  cells  of  the 
honeycombs,  and  is  indeed,  to  state  the  matter 
more  truly,  sustained  by  these,  loses  its  delicious- 
ness  and  cannot  exist  apart  by  itself;  and 
again  as  it  is  with  wine,  which,  unless  it  be  kept 
in  vessels  of  a  pleasant  odor,  and  with  the  i)itch 
frequently  renewed,  loses  the  power  of  its 
natural  sweetness ;  so,  great  care  must  be  taken 
lest  perchance  some  things  may  be  necessary 
also  to  virginity,  without  which  it  can  by  no 
means  produce  its  proper  fruits,  and  thus  a 
matter  of  so  great  difficulty  may  be  of  no  advan- 
tage (while  all  the  time  it  is  believed  to  be  of 
advantage),  because  it  is  possessed  without  the 
other  necessary  adjuncts.  For  unless  I  am 
mistaken,  chastity  is  preserved  in  its  entirety,  for 
the  sake  of  the  reward  to  be  obtained  in  the 
kingdom  of  heaven,  which  it  is  perfectly  certain 
no  one  can  obtain  who  does  ^  not  deserve  eternal 
life.  But  that  eternal  life  cannot  be  merited 
except  by  the  keeping  of  all  the  divine  com- 
mandments, the  Scripture  testifies,  saying,  "  If 
thou  wilt  enter  into  life,  keep   the  command- 

1  The  text  is  here  most  uncertain;  that  adopted  by  Halm  seems 
unintelligible. 

1  "  quod  sine  aternae  vitae  merito  nerainem  consequi  posse  satis 
certum  est." 


ments.""  Therefore  no  one  has  that  life,  except 
the  man  who  has  kept  all  the  precepts  of  the 
law,  and  he  who  has  not  such  life  cannot  be  a 
possessor  of  the  kingdom  of  heaven,  in  which  it 
is  not  the  dead,  but  the  living  who  shall  reign. 
Therefore  virginity,  which  hopes  for  the  glory  of 
the  kingdom  of  heaven,  will  profit  nothing  by 
itself,  unless  it  also  possess  that  to  which  eternal 
life  is  promised,  by  means  of  which  the  leward 
of  the  kingdom  of  heaven  is  possessed.  Above 
all  things,  therefore,  the  commandments  which 
have  been  enjoined  upon  us  must  be  kept  by 
those  who  preserve  chastity  in  its  entireness,  and 
who  are  hoping  for  its  reward  from  the  justice  of 
God,  lest  otherwise  the  pains  taken  to  maintain 
a  glorious  chastity  and  continence  come  to 
nothing.  No  one  acquainted  with  the  law  does 
not  know  that  virginity  is  above  ^  the  command- 
ment or  precept,  as  the  Apostle  says,  "  Now, 
as  to  virgins,  I  have  no  precept  of  the  Lord,  but 
I  give  my  advice."  ■*  When,  therefore,  he  simply 
gives  advice  about  maintaining  virginity,  and 
lays  down  no  precept,  he  acknowledges  that  it 
is  above  the  commandment.  Those,  therefore, 
who  preserve  virginity,  do  more  than  the  com- 
mandment requires.  But  it  will  then  Oidy  profit 
you  to  have  done  more  than  was  commanded,  if 
you  also  do  that  which  is  commanded.  For 
how  can  you  boast  that  you  have  done  more,  if, 
in  respect  to  some  point,  you  do  less  ?  Desiring 
to  fulfill  the  Divine  counsel,  see  that,  above  all 
things,  you  keep  the  commandment :  wishing  to 
attain  to  the  reward  of  virginity,  see  that  you 
keep  fast  hold  of  what  is  necessary  to  merit  life, 
that  your  chastity  may  be  such  as  can  receive 
a  recompense.  For  as  the  observance  of  the 
commandments  ensures  life,  so,  on  the  other 
hand,  does  the  violation  give  rise  to  death. 
And  he  who  through  disobedience  has  been 
doomed  to  death  cannot  hope  for  the  crown 
pertaining  to  virginity  ;  nor,  when  really  handed 
over  to  punishment,  can  he  expect  the  reward 
promised  to  chastity. 


CHAPTER   V. 

Now,  there  are  three  kinds  of  virtue,  by 
means  of  which  the  possession  of  the  kingdom 
of  heaven  is  secured.  The  first  is  chastity,  the 
second,  contempt  of  the  world,  and  the  third, 
righteousness,  which,  as  when  joined  together, 
they  very  greatly  benefit  their  possessors,  so, 
when  separated,  they  can  hardly  be  of  any 
advantage,  since  every  one  of  them  is  required, 
not  for  its  own  sake  only,  but  for  the  sake  of 
another.     First  of  all,  then,  chastity  is  demanded. 


-  Matt.  xi.v.  17. 

3  "  supra  mandatum":   Clericus  remarks  on  this,  "  Non  supra, 
SGdprceter,  nam  ea  de  re  nihil  praecepit  Christus." 
*  I  Cor.  vii.  25. 


6o 


LETTERS    OF    SULPITIUS    SEVERUS    (Doubtful). 


that  contempt  of  the  world  may  more  easily 
follow,  because  the  world  can  be  more  easily 
despised  by  those  who  are  not  held  fast  in  the 
bonds  of  matrimony.  Contempt  of  the  world, 
again,  is  required,  in  order  that  righteousness 
may  be  maintained,  which  those  can  with  diffi- 
culty fully  preserve  who  are  involved  in  desires 
after  worldly  advantages,  and  in  the  pursuit  of 
mundane  pleasures.  Whosoever,  therefore,  pos- 
sesses the  first  kind  of  virtue,  chastity,  but  does 
not,  at  the  same  time,  have  the  second,  which 
is  contempt  of  the  world,  possesses  the  first 
almost  to  no  purpose,  since  he  does  not  have 
the  second,  for  the  sake  of  which  the  first  was 
required.  And  if  any  one  possesses  the  first 
and  second,  but  is  destitute  of  the  third  which 
is  righteousness,  he  labors  in  vain,  since  the 
former  two  are  principally  required  for  the  sake 
of  the  third.  For  what  profits  it  to  possess 
chastity  in  order  to  contempt  of  the  world,  and 
yet  not  to  have  that  on  account  of  which  you 
have  the  other?  Or  why  should  you  despise 
the  things  of  the  world,  if  you  do  not  observe 
righteousness,  for  the  sake  of  which  it  is  fitting 
that  you  should  possess  chastity,  as  well  as  con- 
tempt for  the  world?  For  as  the  first  kind  of 
virtue  is  on  account  of  the  second,  and  the  sec- 
ond on  account  of  the  third,  so  the  first  and  the 
second  are  on  account  of  the  third  ;  and  if  it 
does  not  exist,  neither  the  first  nor  the  second 
will  prove  of  any  advantage. 

CHAPTER   VI. 

But  you  perhaps  say  here, ''•' Teach  me, 
then,  what  righteousness  is,  so  that  knowing  it, 
I  may  be  able  more  easily  to  fully  practice  it." 
Well,  I  shall  briefly  explain  it  to  you,  as  I  am 
able,  and  shall  use  the  simplicity  of  common 
words,  seeing  that  the  subject  of  which  we  treat 
is  such  as  ought  by  no  means  to  be  obscured  by 
attemy)ts  at  elocjuent  description,  but  should  be 
opened  up  by  the  simplest  forms  of  expression. 
For  a  matter  which  is  necessary  to  all  in  common 
ought  to  be  set  forth  in  a  common  sort  of  speech. 
Righteousness,  then,  is  nothing  else  than  not  to 
commit  sin  ;  and  not  to  commit  sin  is  just  to 
keep  the  precepts  of  the  law.  Now,  the  ob- 
servance of  these  precepts  is  maintained  in  a 
two-fold  way  —  thus,  that  one  do  none  of  those 
things  which  are  forbidden,  and  that  he  strive  to 
fulfill  the  things  whicji  are  commanded.  This  is 
the  meaning  of  the  following  statement :  "  De- 
part from  evil,  and  do  ^  good."  For  I  do  not 
wish  you  to  think  that  righteousness  consists 
simply  in  not  doing  evil,  since  not  to  do  good  is 
also  evil,  and  a  transgression  of  the  law  takes 
place  in  both,  since  he  who  said,  "  Depart  from 
evil "  said  also,  "  and  do  good."     If  you  depart 

1  Ps.  xxxiv.  14. 


from  evil,  and  do  not  do  good,  you  are  a  trans- 
gressor of  the  law,  which  is  fulfilled,  not  simply 
by  abhorring  all  evil  deeds,  but  also  by  the 
performance  of  good  works.  For,  indeed,  you 
have  not  merely  received  this  commandment, 
that  you  should  not  deprive  one  who  is  clothed 
of  his  garments,  but  that  you  should  cover  with 
your  own  the  man  who  has  been  deprived  of 
his  ;  nor  that  you  should  not  take  away  bread 
of  his  own  from  one  who  has  it,  but  that  you 
shou'd  willingly  impart  of  your  bread  to  him 
who  has  none  ;  nor  that  you  should  not  simply 
not  drive  away  a  poor  man  from  a  shelter  of  his 
own,  but  that  you  should  receive  him  when  he 
has  been  driven  out,  and  has  no  shelter,  into 
your  own.  For  the  precept  which  has  been 
given  us  is  "  to  weep  with  them  that  ^  weep." 
But  how  can  we  weep  with  them,  if  we  share  in 
none  of  their  necessities,  and  afi'ord  no  help  to 
them  in  those  matters  on  account  of  which  they 
lament?  For  God  does  not  call  for  the  fruit- 
less moisture  of  our  tears;  but,  because  tears 
are  an  indication  of  grief,  he  wishes  you  to  feel 
the  distresses  of  another  as  if  they  were  your 
own.  And  just  as  you  would  wish  aid  to  be 
given  you  if  you  were  in  such  tribulation,  so 
should  you  help  another  in  accordance  with  the 
statement,  "  Whatsoever  ye  would  that  men 
should  do  unto  you,  do  ye  even  so  ^  to  them." 
For  to  weep  with  one  that  weeps,  and  at  the 
same  time  to  refuse  to  help,  when  you  can,  him 
that  weeps,  is  a  proof  of  mockery,  and  not  of 
piety.  In  short,  our  Saviour  wept  with  INIary 
and  Martha,  the  sisters  of  Lazarus,  and  proved 
the  feeling  of  infinite  compassion  within  him  by 
the  witness  of  hi^  tears.  But  works,  as  the 
proofs  of  true  affection  soon  followed,  when 
Lazarus,  for  whose  sake  the  tears  were  shed,  was 
raised  up  and  restored  to  his  sisters.  This  was 
sincerely  to  weep  with  those  who  wept,  v>i\en  the 
occasion  of  the  weeping  was  removed.  But  he 
did  it,  you  will  say,  as  having  the  power.  Well, 
nothing  is  demanded  of  you  which  it  is  impos- 
sible for  you  to  perform  :  he  has  fulfilled  his 
entire  duty  who  has  done  what  he  could. 


CHAPTER   VII. 

But  (as  we  hatl  begun  to  remark)  it  is  not 
sufficient  for  a  Christian  to  keep  himself  from 
wickedness,  unless  he  also  has  fiilfilled  the  duties 
implied  in  good  works,  as  is  very  distinctly 
proved  by  that  statement  in  which  the  Lord 
threatened  that  those  will  be  doomed  to  eternal 
fire,  who,  although  they  have  done  no  evil,  have 
not  done  all  that  is  good,  declaring  "  Then 
will  the  king'  say  to  those  who  are  on  his  right 
hand  :  depart  from  me,  ye  cursed,  into  eternal 


2  Rom.  xii.  15. 


5  JMatt.  vii.  12. 


LETTERS   OF   SULPITIUS   SEVERUS  (Doubtful). 


6i 


fire,  which  my  Father  has  prepared  for  the  devil 
and  his  angels ;  for  I  was  hungry,  and  ye  gave 
me  not  to  eat ;  I  was  thirsty,  and  ye  gave  me 
no  '  drink,"  with  what  follows.  He  did  not  say, 
"Depart  from  me,  ye  cursed,  because  ye  have 
committed  murder,  or  adultery,  or  theft "  ;  for 
it  is  not  because  they  had  done  evil,  but  because 
they  had  not  done  good,  that  they  are  con- 
demned, and  doomed  to  the  punishments  of 
the  eternal  Gehenna ;  nor  because  they  had 
committed  things  which  were  forbidden,  but 
because  they  had  not  been  willing  to  do  those 
things  which  had  been  commanded.  And  from 
this  it  is  to  be  observed  what  hope  those  can 
have,  who,  in  addition,  do  some  of  those  things 
which  are  forbidden,  when  even  such  are  doomed 
to  eternal  fire  as  have  simply  not  done  the  things 
which  are  commanded.  For  I  do  not  wish  you 
to  flatter  yourself  in  this  way,  —  if  you  have  not 
done  certain  things,  because  you  have  done  cer- 
tain other  things,  since  it  is  written,  "  Whoso- 
ever shall  keep  the  whole  law,  and  yet  offend  in 
one  point,  has  become  guilty  of  all."-  For 
Adam  sinned  once,  and  died  ;  and  do  you  think 
that  you  can  live,  when  you  are  often  doing  that 
which  killed  another  person,  when  he  had  only 
done  it  once?  Or  do  you  imagine  that  he  com- 
mitted a  great  crime,  and  was  therefore  justly 
condemned  to  a  severer  punishment?  Let  us 
consider,  then,  what  it  was  he  really  did.  He 
ate  of  the  fruit  of  the  tree,  contrary  to  the  com- 
mandment. What  then?  Did  Ciod  punish  man 
with  death  for  the  sake  of  the  fruit  of  a  tree  ? 
No  :  not  on  account  of  the  fruit  of  the  tree,  but 
on  account  of  the  contempt  of  the  command- 
ment. The  question,  therefore,  is  not  about  the 
nature  of  the  offense,  but  about  the  trans- 
gression of  the  commandment.  And  the  same 
being  who  told  Adam  not  to  eat  of  the  fruit  of 
the  tree,  has  commanded  you  not  to  speak  evil, 
not  to  lie,  not  to  detract,  not  to  listen  to  a  de- 
tractor, to  swear  not  at  all,  not  to  covet,  not  to 
envy,  not  to  be  drunken,  not  to  be  greedy,  not 
to  render  evil  for  evil  to  any  one,  to  love  your 
enemies,  to  bless  them  that  curse  you,  to  pray 
for  them  that  malign  and  persecute  you-,  to  turn 
the  other  cheek  to  one  smiting  you,  and  not  to 
go  to  law  before  a  worldly  tribunal,  so  that,  if 
any  one  seeks  to  take  away  your  goods,  you 
should  joyfully  lose  them,  to  flee  from  the  charge 
of  avarice,  to  beware  of  the  sin  of  all  pride  and 
boastfulness,  and  live,  humble  and  meek,  after 
the  example  of  Christ,  avoiding  fellowship  with 
the  wicked  so  completely  that  you  will  not  even 
eat  with  fornicators,  or  covetous  persons,  or 
those  that  speak  evil  of  others,  or  the  envious, 
or  detractors,  or  the  drunken,  or  the  rapacious. 
Now,  if  you   despise  him   in  any  such   matter. 


1  Matt.  XXV.  41. 


*  James  ii.  lo- 


then,  if  he  spared  Adam,  he  will  also  spare  you. 
Yea,  he  might  have  been  spared  with  better 
reason  than  you,  inasmuch  as  he  was  still  igno- 
rant and  inexperienced,  and  was  restrained  by 
the  example  of  no  one  who  had  previously 
sinned,  and  who  had  died  on  account  of  his  sin. 
But  after  such  examples  as  you  possess,  after 
the  law,  after  the  prophets,  after  the  gospels,  and 
after  the  apostles,  if  you  still  set  your  mind  on 
transgressing,  I  see  not  in  what  way  pardon  can 
be  extended  to  you. 

CHAPTER  VHL 

Do  you  flatter  yourself  on  account  of  the  at- 
tribute of  virginity?  Remember  Adam  and 
Eve  fell  when  they  were  virgins,  and  that  the 
perfect  purity  of  their  bodies  did  not  profit  them 
when  they  sinned.  The  virgin  who  sins  is  to  be 
compared  to  Eve,  and  not  to  Mary.  We  do  not 
deny  that,  in  the  present  life,  there  is  the  rem- 
edy of  repentance,  but  we  remind  you  rather  to 
hope  for  reward,  than  to  look  for  pardon.  For 
it  is  disgraceful  that  those  should  ask  for  indul- 
gence who  are  expecting'  the  crown  of  virginity, 
and  that  those  should  commit  anything  unlawful 
who  have  even  cut  themselves  off  from  things 
lawful ;  for  it  must  be  remembered  that  it  is  law- 
ful to  contract  an  alliance  by  marriage.  And 
as  those  are  to  be  praised  who,  from  love  to 
Christ,  and  for  the  glory  of  the  kingdom  of 
heaven,  have  despised  the  tie  of  wedlock,  so 
those  are  to  be  condemned  who,  through  the 
pleasure  of  incontinence,  after  they  have  vowed 
themselves  to  God,  have  recourse  to  the  Apostolic 
remedy.  Therefore,  as  we  have  said,  those  who 
decline  marriage  despise  not  things  unlawful, 
but  things  lawful.  And  if  that  class  of  people 
swear,  if  they  speak  evil  of  others,  if  they  are 
detractors,  or  if  they  patiently  listen  to  detract- 
ors, if  they  return  evil  for  evil,  if  they  incur  the 
charge  of  covetousness  with  respect  to  other 
people's  property,  or  of  avarice  in  regard  to 
their  own,  if  they  cherish  the  poison  of  revenge 
or  envy,  if  they  either  say  or  think  anything 
unbefitting  against  the  institutions  of  the  law  or 
the  Apostles,  if  with  a  desire  of  pleasing  in  the 
flesh,  they  exhibit  themselves  dressed  up  and 
adorned,  if  they  do  any  other  unlawful  things, 
as  is  only  too  common,  what  will  it  profit  them 
to  have  spurned  what  is  lawful,  while  they  prac- 
tice what  is  not  lawful  ?  If  you  wish  it  to  be  of 
advantage  to  you,  that  you  have  despised  things 
lawful,  take  care  that  you  do  not  any  of  those 
things  which  are  not  lawful.  For,  it  is  foolish 
to  have  dreaded  that  which  is  in  its  nature  less, 
and  not  to  dread  that  which  is  intrinsically  more 
[or  not  to  avoid  those  things '  which  are  inter- 

'  The  genuineness  of  this  clause  is  very  doubtful,  and  the  text 
is,  at  best,  exceedingly  corrupt. 


62 


THE   WRITINGS    OF    SULPITIUS    SEVERUS. 


dieted,  while  such  things  as  are  permitted  meet 
with  contempt].  For  the  Apostle  says,  "She 
that  is  unmarried  careth  for  the  things  of  the 
Lord,  how  she  may  please  God,  that  she  may 
be  holy  both  in  body  and  spirit ;  but  she  v/ho  is 
married  careth  for  the  things  of  this  world,  how 
she  may  please^  her  husband."  He  thus  affirms 
that  the  married  woman  pleases  her  husband  by 
thinking  of  worldly  things,  while  the  unmarried 
woman  pleases  God,  inasmuch  as  she  has  no 
anxiety  about  the  things  of  the  world.  Let  him 
tell  me,  then,  whom  she  desires  to  please,  who 
has  no  husband,  and  yet  cares  for  the  things  of 
the  world?  Shall  not  the  married  woman,  in 
such  a  case,  be  preferred  to  her?  Yes,  since 
she  by  caring  for  the  things  of  the  world  pleases 
at  least  her  husband,  but  the  other  neither 
pleases  her  husband,  since  she  does  not  have 
one,  nor  can  she  please  God.^  But  it  is  not 
fitting  that  we  should  pass  over  in  silence  that 
which  he  said  :  "  The  unmarried  woman  careth 
for  the  things  of  the  Lord,  how  she  may  please 
God,  that  she  may  be  holy  both  in  body  and 
spirit  "  [she  careth,  he.says,  for  the  things  of  the 
Lord  ;  she  does  not  care  for  the  things  of  the 
world,  or  of  men,  but  for  the  things  of  God]. 
What,  then,  are  the  things  of  the  Lord?  Let 
the  Apostle  tell :  "Whatsoever'*  things  are  holy, 
whatsoever  things  are  just,  whatsoever  things  are 
lovely,  whatsoever  things  are  of  good  report,  if 
there  be  any  virtue,  and  if  there  be  any  praise  of 
doctrine  "  :  these  are  the  things  of  the  Lord, 
which  holy  and  truly  apostolic  virgins  meditate 
upon,  and  think  of,  day  and  night,  without  any 
interval  of  time.  Of  the  Lord  is  the  resurrec- 
tion of  the  dead,  of  the  Lord  is  immortality,  of 
the  Lord  is  incorruption,  of  the  Lord  is  that 
splendor  of  the  sun  which  is  promised  to  the 
saints,  as  it  is  written  in  the  Gospel,  "  Then 
shall  the  righteous  shine  forth  as  the  sun  in  the 
kingdom  of  their  Father"  :^  of  the  Lord  are  the 
many  mansions  of  the  righteous  in  the  heavens, 
of  the  Lord  is  the  fruit  which  is  produced, 
whether  thirty  fold,  or  sixty  fold,  or  an  hundred 
fold.  Those  virgins  who  think  on  these  things, 
and  by  what  works  they  may  be  able  to  merit 
them,  think  of  the  things  of  the  Lord.  Of  the 
Lord,  too,  is  the  law  of  the  new  and  old  tes- 
tament, in  which  shine  forth  the  holy  utterances 
of  his  lips  ;  and  if  any  virgins  meditate  without 
intermission  on  these  things,  they  think  of  the 
things  of  the  Lord.  In  that  case,  there  is  ful- 
filled in  them  the  saying  of  the  prophet :  "  The 
eternal"  foundations  are  upon  a  solid  rock,  and 
the  commands  of  God  are  in  the  heart  of  the 
holy  woman." 

^  I  Cor.  vii.  34. 

'  The   text   is   here  very   uncertain;    we  have  followed  that  of 
Halm,  but  with  hesitation. 

*  Phil.  iv.  8,  with  the  addition  of  eTriar^iotr)?. 

o  Matt.  xiii.  43.  '^  Eccl.  xxvi.  24. 


CHAPTER   IX. 

There  follows  the  clause  "  how  she  may 
please  God,"  —  God,  I  say,  not  men,  —  "  that  she 
may  be  holy  both  in  body  and  spirit."  He  does 
not  say  that  she  may  be  holy  only  in  a  member 
or  in  the  body,  but  that  she  may  be  holy  in 
body  and  spirit.  For  a  member  is  only  one 
part  of  the  body,  but  the  body  is  a  union  of  all 
the  members.  Wlien,  therefore,  he  says  that 
she  may  be  holy  in  the  body,  he  testifies  that 
she  ought  to  be  sanctified  in  all  her  members, 
because  the  sanctification  of  the  other  members 
will  not  avail,  if  corruption  be  found  remaining 
in  one.  Also,  she  will  not  be  holy  in  body 
(which  consists  of  all  the  members),  who  is  de- 
filed by  the  pollution  of  even  one  of  them. 
But  in  order  that  what  I  say  may  be  made  more 
obvious  and  clear,  suppose  the  case  of  a  woman 
who  is  purified  by  the  sanctification  of  all  her 
other  members,  and  sins  only  with  her  tongue, 
inasmuch  as  she  either  speaks  evil  -^  of  people  or 
bears  false  testimony,  will  all  her  other  members 
secure  the  acquittal  of  one,  or  will  all  the  rest 
be  judged  on  account  of  the  one?  If,  there- 
fore, the  sanctification  of  the  other  members 
will  not  avail,  even  when  one  only  is  at  fault, 
how  much  more,  if  all  are  corrupted  by  the 
guilt  of  various  sins,  will  the  perfection  of  one 
be  of  no  avail  ? 

CHAPTER   X. 

Wherefore,  I  beseech  you,  O  virgin,  do  not 
flatter  yourself  on  the  ground  of  your  purity 
alone,  and  do  not  trust  in  the  perfection  of  one 
member ;  but  according  to  the  Apostle,  main- 
tain the  sanctity  of  }'Our  body  throughout. 
Cleanse  thy  head  from  all  defilement,  because 
it  is  a  disgrace  that  it,  after  the  sanctifying  oil 
has  been  applied  to  it,  should  be  polluted  with 
the  juice  or  powder  of  either  crocus,  or  any 
other  pigment,  or  should  be  adorned  with  gold 
or  gems  or  any  other  earthly  ornament,  because 
it  already  shines  with  the  radiance  of  heavenly 
adornment.  It  is  undoubtedly  a  grave  insult  to 
Divine  grace  to  prefer  to  it  any  mundane  and 
worldly  ornament.  And  next,  cleanse  thy  fore- 
head, that  it  may  blush  at  human,  and  not  at 
Divine  works,  and  may  display  that  shame  which 
gives  rise  not  to  sin,  but  to  the  favor  of  (iod, 
as  the  sacred  Scripture  declares,  "There  is  a 
shame  that  causes  sin,  and  there  is  a  shame  that 
brings  with  it  the  favor  ^  of  God."  Cleanse, 
too,  thy  neck,  that  it  may  not  carry  thy  -  locks 
in  a  golden  net  and  necklaces  hung  round  it. 


^  "  Blasphemet." 
'  Eccl.  iv.  21. 

-  The  text  is  here  most  uncertain;   Halm's  "  ut  non  aurea  reti- 
cula  capillus  portet  "  is  "  that  thy  hair  may  not  carry  golden  nets." 


LETTERS  OF  SULPITIUS  SEVERUS  (Doubtful). 


but  may  rather  bear  about  it  those  ornaments 
of  which  the  Scripture  says,  "Let  not^  mercy 
and  faith  depart  from  thee,"  and  hang  them 
upon  thy  heart  as  upon  thy  neck.  Cleanse  thine 
eyes,  whilst  thou  dost  withdraw  them  from  all 
concupiscence,  and  dost  never  turn  them  away 
from  the  sight  of  the  j^oor,  and  dost  keep  them 
from  all  dyes,  in  that  purity  in  which  they  were 
made  by  God.  Cleanse  thy  tongue  from  false- 
hood, because  "  a  mouth  *  which  tells  lies  de- 
stroys the  soul "  :  cleanse  it  from  detraction,  from 
swearing,  and  from  perjury.  I  beg  you  not  to 
think  it  is  an  inverted  order  that  I  have  said  the 
tongue  should  be  cleansed  from  swearing  be- 
fore perjury,  for  one  will  then  the  more  easily 
escape  perjury,  if  he  swears  not  at  all,  so  that 
there  may  _  be  fulfilled  in  him  that  statement, 
"  Keep '  thy  tongue  from  evil,  and  thy  lips  from 
speaking  guile."  And  be  mindful  of  the  Apostle 
who  says,  "Bless,  and ^  curse  not."  But  often 
call  to  mind  the  following  words,  "  See  that 
no  one  render  evil  for  evil  to  any  man,  or  curs- 
ing for  cursing,  but  on  the  contrary,  do  ye  bless 
them,  because  to  this  ye  have  been  called,  that 
ye  should  possess  a  blessing 'by  inheritance"; 
and  this  other  passage,  "  If  any  *  one  offend 
not  in  tongue,  he  is  a  perfect  man."  For  it  is 
shameful  that  those  lips,  by  which  you  confess 
God,  pray  to  him,  bless  him,  and  praise  him, 
should  be  defiled  by  the  pollution  of  any  sin. 
I  know  not  with  what  conscience  any  one  can 
pray  to  God  with  that  tongue  with  which  he 
either  speaks  falsehood,  or  calumniates,  or  de- 
tracts. God  listens  to  holy  lips,  and  speedily 
answers  those  prayers  which  an  unpolluted 
tongue  pours  forth.  Cleanse  also  thine  ears,  so 
that  they  may  not  listen  except  to  holy  and  true 
discourse,  that  they  never  admit  into  them  ob- 
scene, or  infamous,  or  worldly  words,  or  tolerate 
any  one  detracting  from  another,  on  account  of 
that  which  is  written,  "  Hedge  up  ^  thine  ears 
with  thorns,  and  do  not  listen  to  a  wicked 
tongue,  that  you  may  have  your  part  with  him, 
of  whom  it  is  said,  that  he  was  ^"  righteous  in 
hearing  and  seeing ;  i.e.  he  sinned  neither  with 
his  eyes  nor  his  ears.  Cleanse,  too,  thy  hands, 
"  that  they  ^^  be  not  stretched  out  to  receive,  but 
shut  against  giving,"  and  that  they  be  not  prompt 
to  strike,  but  ever  ready  for  all  the  works  of 
mercy  and  piety.  In  fine,  cleanse  thy  feet,  that 
they  follow  not  the  broad  and  ample  way  which 
leads  to  grand  and  costly  worldly  banquets,  but 
that  they  tread  rather  the  difficult  and  narrow 
path,  which  guides  to  heaven,  for  it  is  written, 
"Make  a^^  straight  path  for  your  feet."  Ac- 
knowledge that  your  members  were  formed  for 


'  ProY.  iii.  3. 

*  Wisd.  i.  II. 

''  Ps.  xxxiv.  13. 

^  Rom.  xii.  14. 

'  I  Thess.  V.  15;   I  Pet. 


111.  9. 


'  James  iii.  2. 

*  Eccl.  xxviii.  24. 
"  2  Pet.  ii.  8. 
^'  Eccles.  iv.  31. 
^-  Prov.  iv.  26. 


you  by  God  the  Maker,  not  for  vices,  but  for 
virtues  ;  and,  when  you  have  cleansed  the  whole 
of  your  limbs  from  every  stain  of  sin,  and  they 
have  become  sanctified  throughout  your  whole 
body,  then  understand  that  this  purity  will  profit 
you,  and  look  forward  with  all  confidence  to  the 
prize  of  virginity. 


CHAPTER   XL 

I  EELTEVE  that  I  have  now  set  forth,  briefly 
indeed,  but,  at  the  same  time,  fully,  what  is  im- 
pUed  in  a  woman's  purity  of  body  :  it  remains 
that  we  should  learn  what  it  is  to  be  pure  also 
in  spirit ;  i.e.  that  what  it  is  unlawful  for  one  to 
do  in  act,  it  is  also  unlawful  for  one  even  to 
imagine  in  thought.  For  she  is  holy,  alike  in 
body  and  in  spirit,  who  sins  neither  in  mind  nor 
heart,  knowing  that  God  is  one  who  examines 
also  the  heart ;  and,  therefore,  she  takes  every 
pains  to  possess  a  mind  as  well .  as  a  body  free 
from  sin.  Such  a  person  is  aware  that  it  is 
written,  "Keep  thy^  heart  with  all  diligence"; 
and  again,  "  God  loveth  -  holy  hearts,  and  all 
the  undefiled  are  acceptable  to  him  "  ;  and  else- 
where, "  Blessed  ^  are  those  of  a  pure  heart ;  for 
they  shall  see  God."  I  think  that  this  last 
statement  is  made  regarding  those  whom  con- 
science accuses  of  the  guilt  of  no  sin ;  concern- 
ing whom  I  think  that  John  also  spoke  in  his 
Epistle  when  he  said,  "  If  our  heart  *  condemn 
us  not,  then  have  we  confidence  towards  God, 
and  whatsoever  we  ask  we  shall  receive  from 
him."  I  do  not  wish  you  to  think  that  you  have 
escaped  the  accusation  of  sin,  although  act  does 
not  follow  desire,  since  it  is  written,  "  Whoso- 
ever^ looketh  on  a  woman  to  lust  after  her, 
hath  already  committed  adultery  with  her  in  his 
heart."  And  do  not  say,  "  I  had  the  thought, 
indeed,  but  I  did  not  carry  it  out  in  act  "  ;  for 
it  is  unlawful  even  to  desire  that  which  it  is 
unlawful  to  do.  Wherefore  also  blessed  Peter 
issues  a  precept  to  this  effect :  "  purify  your " 
souls  "  ;  and  if  he  had  not  been  aware  of  such 
a  thing  as  defilement  of  the  soul,  he  would  not 
have  expressed  a  desire  that  it  should  be  puri- 
fied. But  we  should  also  very  carefully  con- 
sider that  passage  which  says,  "  These ''  are 
they  who  did  not  defile  themselves  with  women, 
for  they  remained  virgins,  and  they  follow  the 
Lamb  whithersoever  he  goeth  "  ;  and  should  re- 
flect whether,  if  these  are  joined  to  the  Divine 
retinue,  and  traverse  all  the  regions  of  the 
heavens,  through  the  merit  of  chastity  and 
purity  alone,  there  may  be  also  other  means  by 
which  virginity  being  assisted  may  attain  to  the 


'  Prov.  iv.  23. 

-  Prov.  xvii.  3;  xi.  20. 

3  Matt.  V.  8. 

••  I  John  iii,  21. 


6  Matt.  V.  28. 
8  I  Pet.  i.  22. 
'  Rev.  xiv.  4. 


64 


THE    WRITINGS    OF    SULPITIUS    SEVERUS. 


glory  of  so  great  blessedness.  But  whence 
shall  we  be  able  to  know  this  ?  From  the  fol- 
lowing passages  (if  I  mistake  not)  in  which  it  is 
written,  "These  were^  purchased  from  among 
men  as  the  first  fruits  to  God  and  the  Lamb, 
and  in  their  mouth  there  was  found  no  false- 
hood, for  they  are  without  spot  before  the  throne 
of  God."  You  see,  then,  that  they  are  spoken 
of  as  closely  following  in  the  footsteps  of  the 
Lord,  not  in  virtue  of  one  member  only,  but 
those  are  said  to  do  so,  who,  besides  virginity, 
had  passed  a  life  freed  from  all  the  pollution  of 
sin.  Wherefore,  let  the  virgin  especially  despise 
marriage' on  this  account,  that,  while  she  is  safer 
than  others,  she  may  the  more  easily  accomplish 
what  is  also  required  from  those  who  are  mar- 
ried ;  viz.  keep  herself  from  all  sin,  and  obey 
all  the  commandments  of  the  law.  For  if  she 
does  not  marry,  and  nevertheless  indulges  in 
those  things  from  which  even  married  women 
are  enjoined  to  keep  themselves  free,  what  will 
it  profit  her  not  to  have  married?  For  although 
it  is  not  allowed  to  any  Christian  to  commit  sin, 
and  it  befits  all  without  exception  who  are  puri- 
fied through  the  sanctification  of  the  spiritual 
bath,  to  lead  an  unstained  life,  that  they  may  be 
thoroughly  identified^  with  the  Church,  which 
is  described  as  being  "  without  ^'^  spot,  or  wrinkle, 
or  any  such  thing,"  much  more  is  it  requisite 
that  a  virgin  should  reach  this  standard,  whom 
neither  the  existence  of  a  husband,  nor  of  sons, 
nor  of  any  other  necessity,  prevents  from  fully 
carrying  out  the  demands  of  holy  Scripture  ;  nor 
shall  she  be  able,  if  she  fail,  to  defend  herself 
by  any  sort  of  excuse. 

CHAPTER  XIL 

O  VIRGIN,  maintain  thy  purpose  which  is  des- 
tined for  a  great  reward.  Eminent  with  the 
Lord  is  the  virtue  of  virginity  and  purity,  if  it 
be  not  disfigured  by  other  kinds  of  lapses  into 
sins  and  wickedness.  Realize  your  state,  realize 
your  position,  realize  your  purpose.  You  are 
called  the  bride  of  Christ ;  see  that  you  commit 
no  act  which  is  unworthy  of  him  to  whom  you 
profess  to  be  betrothed.  He  will  quickly  write 
a  bill  of  divorcement,  if  he  perceive  in  you  even 
one  act  of  unfaithfulness.  Accordingly,  whoso- 
ever receives  those  gifts  which,  as  an  earnest, 
are  bestowed  in  the  case  of  human  betrothals, 
immediately  begins  earnestly  and  diligently  to 
enquire  of  domestics,  intimates,  and  friends, 
what  is  the  character  of  the  young  man,  what 
he  especially  loves,  what  he  receives,  in  what 
style  he  lives,  what  habits  he  practices,  what  lux- 
uries he  indulges  in,  and  in  what  pursuits   he 


'  Rev.  xiv.  4  ff. 

•  "  visceribus  intiraari.' 


10  Eph.  V.  27. 


finds  his  chief  pleasure  and  delight.  And  when 
she  has  learned  these  things,  she  so  conducts 
herself,  in  all  respects,  that  her  service,  her 
cheerfulness,  her  diligence,  and  her  whole  mode 
of  life,  may  be  in  harmony  with  the  char- 
acter of  her  betrothed.  And  do  thou,  who 
hast  Christ  as  thy  bridegroom,  enquire  from 
the  domestics  and  intimates  of  that  bridegroom 
of  thine  what  is  his  character ;  yes,  do  thou 
zealously  and  skillfully  enquire  in  what  things  he 
specially  delights,  what  sort  of  arrangement  he 
loves  in  thy  dress,  and  what  kind  of  adornment 
he  desires.  Let  his  most  intimate  associate 
Peter  tell  thee,  who  does  not  allow  personal 
adorning  even  to  married  women,  as  he  has 
written  in  his  epistle,  "  Let  wives,^  in  like 
manner,  be  subject  to  their  own  hysbands.  so 
that,  if  any  believe  not  the  word,  they  may, 
without  the  word,  be  won  over  by  the  conduct 
of  their  wives,  contemplating  their  chaste  be- 
havior in  the  fear  of  God  ;  and  let  theirs  not  be 
an  outward  adornment  of  the  hair,  or  the  put- 
ting on  of  gold,  or  elegance  in  the  apparel  which 
is  adopted,  but  let  there  be  the  hidden  man  of 
the  heart  in  the  stainlessness-  of  a  peaceful 
and  modest  spirit,  wliich  is  in  the  sight  of  God 
of  great  price."  Let  another  apostle  also  tell 
thee,  the  blessed  Paul,  who,  writing  to  Timothy, 
gives  his  approval  to  the  same  things  in  regard 
to  the  conduct  of  believing  women :  "  Let 
wives "  in  like  manner  adorn  themselves  with  the 
ornament  of  a  habit  of  modesty  and  sobriety, 
not  with  curled  hair,  or  gold,  or  pearls,  or  costly 
array,  but  as  becomes  women  that  profess 
chastity,  with  good  and  upright  behavior." 

CHAPTER   Xni. 

But  perhaps  you  say,  "Why  did  not  the 
Apostles  enjoin  these  things  on  virgins  ?  "  Be- 
cause they  did  not  think  that  necessary,  lest  such 
an  exhortation,  if  given  to  them,  might  rather 
seem  an  insult  than  a  means  of  edification.  Nor, 
in  fact,  would  they  have  believed  that  virgins 
could  ever  proceed  to  such  an  extreme  of  har- 
dihood, as  to  claim  for  themselves  carnal  and 
worldly  ornaments,  not  permitted  even  to  mar- 
ried women.  Undoubtedly,  the  virgin  ought  to 
adorn  and  array  herself;  for  how  can  she  be 
able  to  please  her  betrothed,  if  she  does  not 
come  forth  in  a  neat  and  ornamental  form? 
Let  her  be  adorned  by  all  means,  but  let  her 
ornaments  be  of  an  internal  and  spiritual  kind, 
and  not  of  a  carnal  nature  ;  for  God  desires  in 
her  a  beauty  not  of  the  body,  but  of  the  soul. 
Do  thou,  therefore,  who  desirest  that  thy  soul 

'   I  Pet.  iii.  I  fi'. 
-  "  incorruptibilitate." 

•'  I  Tim.  ii.  9,  10;  chastity  is  here  unwarrantably  read  in  place 
oi  godliness. 


LETTERS    OF    SULPITIUS    SEVERUS    (Doubtful). 


6  = 


should  be  loved  and  dwelt  in  by  (lod,  array  it 
with  all  diligence,  and  adorn  it  with  spiritual 
garments.  Let  nothing  unbecoming,  nothing 
repulsive,  be  seen  in  it.  Let  it  shine  with  the 
gold  of  righteousness,  and  gleam  with  the  gems 
of  holiness,  and  glitter  with  the  most  precious 
pearl  of  purity  ;  instead  of  line  linen  and  silk,  let 
it  be  arrayecl  in  the  robe  of  mercifulness  and 
piety,  according  to  what  is  written,  "  Put  ye  ^  on, 
therefore,  as  the  elect  of  God,  holy  and  beloved, 
bowels  of  mercy,  kindness,  humility,"  and  so 
forth.  And  let  the  virgin  not  ask  for  the  beauty 
due  to  ceruse,'  or  any  other  pigment,  but  let  her 
have  the  brightness  of  innocence  and  simplicity, 
the  rosy  hue  of  modesty,  and  the  purple  glow  of 
honorable  shamefacedness.  Let  her  be  washed 
with  the  nitre  of  heavenly  doctrine,  and  purified 
by  all  spiritual  lavements.^  Let  no  stain  of 
malice  or  sin  be  left  in  her.  And  lest,  at  any 
time,  she  should  give  forth  the  evil  odor  of  sin, 
let  her  be  imbued,  through  and  through,  with 
the  most  pleasant  ointment  of  wisdom  and 
knowledge. 


CHAPTER  XIV. 

God  seeks  for  adornment  of  this  kind,  and 
desires  a  soul  arrayed  in  such  a  manner.  Re- 
member that  you  are  called  the  daughter  of 
God,  according  to  what  he  says,  "  Hearken,^  O 
daughter,  and  consider."  But  you  yourself  also, 
as  often  as  you  call  God  your  Father,  bear  wit- 
ness that  you  are  the  daughter  of  God.  Where- 
fore, if  you  are  the  daughter  of  God,  take  care 
that  you  do  none  of  those  things  which  are  un- 
worthy of  God,  your  Father ;  but  do  all  things 
as  being  the  daughter  of  God.  Reflect  how  the 
daughters  of  nobles  in  this  world  conduct  them- 
selves, to  what  habits  they  are  accustomed  and 
by  what  exercises  they  train  themselves.  Li 
some  of  them,  there  is  so  great  modesty,  so  great 
dignity,  so  great  self-restraint,  that  they  excel 
the  habits  of  other  human  beings  in  regard  to 
human  nobleness,  and,  lest  they  should  attach 
any  mark  of  disgrace  on  their  honorable  parents 
by  their  failure,  they  strive  to  acquire  another  - 
nature  for  themselves  by  the  mode  of  their 
acting  in  the  world.  And  do  you,  therefore, 
have  regard  to  your  origin,  consider  your  de- 
scent, attend  to  the  glory  of  your  nobility. 
Acknowledge  that  you  are  not  merely  the 
daughter  of  man,  but  of  God,  and  adorned  with 
the  nobility  of  a  divine  birth.  So  present  your- 
self to  the  world  that  your  heavenly  birth  be 

*  Col.  iii.  12. 

*  "ceiussae":  white  lead,  used  by  women  to  whiten  their 
skins. 

^  "  lomentis  ":  a  mixture  of  bean-meal  and  rice,  used  as  a 
lotion  to  preserve  the  smoothness  of  the  skin. 

1  Ps.  xlv.  lO. 

^  Only  a  guess  can  here  be  made  at  the  meaning;  the  text  is  in 
utter  confusion. 


seen  in  you,  and  your  divine  nobleness  shine 
clearly  forth.  Let  there  be  in  you  a  new  dignity, 
an  admirable  virtue,  a  notable  modesty,  a  mar- 
velous patience,  a  gait  becoming  a  virgin  with  a 
bearing  of  true  shamefacedness,  speech  always 
modest,  and  such  as  is  uttered  only  at  the 
proper  time,  so  that  whosoever  beholds  you  may 
admiringly  exclaim  :  "  What  is  this  exhibition  of 
new  dignity  among  men?  Wliat  is  this  striking 
modesty,  what  this  well-balanced  excellence, 
what  this  ripeness  of  wisdom  ?  This  is  not  the 
outcome  of  human  training  or  of  mere  human 
discipline.  Something  heavenly  sheds  its  fra- 
grance on  me  in  that  earthly  body.  'I  really 
believe  that  God  does  reside  in  some  human 
beings."  And  when  he  comes  to  know  that  you 
are  a  handmaid  of  Christ,  he  will  be  seized  with 
the  greater  amazement,  and  will  reflect  how 
marvelous  must  be  the  Master,  when  his  hand- 
maid manifests  such  excellence. 


CHAPTER   XV. 

If  you  wish,  then,  to  be  with  Christ,  you  must 
live  according  to  the  example  of  Christ,  who  was 
so  far  removed  from  all  evil  and  wickedness, 
that  he  did  not  render  a  recompense  even  to 
his  enemies,  but  rather  even  prayed  for  them. 
For  I  do  not  wish  you  to  reckon  those  souls 
Christian,  who  (I  do  not'  say)  hate  either  their 
brothers  or  sisters,  but  who  do  not,  before  God 
as  a  witness,  love  their  neighbors  with  their 
whole  heart  and  conscience,  since  it  is  a  bounden 
duty  for  Christians,  after  the  example  of  Christ 
himself,  even  to  love  their  enemies.  If  you 
desire  to  possess  fellowship  with  the  saints, 
cleanse  your  heart  from  the  thought  of  malice 
and  sin.  Let  no  one  circumvent  you  ;  let  no 
one  delude  you  by  beguiling  speech.  The  court 
of  heaven  will  admit  none  except  the  holy,  and 
righteous,  and  simple,  and  innocent,  and  pure. 
Evil  has  no  place  in  the  presence  of  God.  It  is 
necessary  that  he  who  desires  to  reign  with 
Christ  should  be  free  from  all  wickedness  and 
guile.  Nothing  is  so  ofl'ensive,  and  nothing  so 
detestable  to  God,  as  to  hate  any  one,  to  wish 
to  harm  any  one  ;  while  nothing  is  so  acceptable 
to  him  as  to  love  all  men.  The  prophet  know- 
ing this  bears  witness  to  it  when  he  teaches, 
"Ye  who^  love  the  Lord,  hate  evil." 


CHAPTER  XVI. 

Take  heed  that  ye  love  not  human  glory  in 
any  respect,  lest  your  portion  also  be  reckoned 
among  those  to  whom  it  was  said,  "  How  ^  can 
ye  believe,  who  seek  glory,  one  from  another?  " 


'  Ps.  xcvii.  lo. 


'  John  V.  44. 


66 


THE   WRITINGS    OF    SULPITIUS    SEVERUS. 


and  of  whom  it  is  said  through  the  prophet, 
"  Increase  -  evils  to  them  ;  increase  evils  to  the 
boastful  of  the  earth  "  ;  and  elsewhere,  "  Ye  are 
confounded  ^  from  your  boasting,  from  your  re- 
proaching in  the  sight  of  the  Lord."  For  I  do 
not  wish  you  to  have  regard  to  those,  who  are 
virgins  of  the  world,  and  not  of  Christ ;  who  un- 
mindful of  their  purpose  and  profession,  rejoice 
in  delicacies,  are  delighted  with  riches,  and  boast 
of  their  descent  from  a  merely  carnal  nobility ; 
who,  if  they  assuredly  believed  themselves  to  be 
the  daughters  of  God,  would  never,  after  their 
divine  ancestry,  admire  mere  human  nobility, 
nor  glory  in  any  honored  earthly  father  :  if  they 
felt  that  they  had  God  as  their  Father,  they 
would  not  love  any  nobility  connected  with  the 
flesh.  ^Vhy,  thou  foolish  woman,  dost  thou 
flatter  thyself  about  the  nobleness  of  thy  descent, 
and  take  delight  in  it?  God,  at  the  beginning, 
created  two  human  beings,  from  whom  the  whole 
multitude  of  the  human  race  has  descended  ; 
and  thus  it  is  not  the  equity  of  nature,  but  the 
ambition  of  evil  desire,  which  has  given  rise  to 
worldly  nobility.  Unquestionably,  we  are  all 
rendered  equal  by  the  grace  of  the  divine  *  bath, 
and  there  can  be  no  difference  among  those, 
whom  the  second  birth  has  generated,  by  means 
of  which  alike  the  rich  man  and  the  poor  man, 
the  free  man  and  the  slave,  the  nobly  born  and 
the  lowly  born,  is  rendered  a  son  of  God.  Thus 
mere  earthly  rank  is  overshadowed  by  the  bril- 
liance of  heavenly  glory,  and  henceforth  is  taken 
no  account  of,  while  those  who  formerly  had 
been  unequal  in  worldly  honors  are  now  equally 
arrayed  in  the  glory  of  a  heavenly  and  divine 
nobility.  There  is  now  among  such  no  place 
for  lowness  of  birth  ;  nor  is  any  one  inferior  to 
another  whom  the  majesty  of  the  divine  birth 
adorns ;  except  in  the  estimation  of  those  who 
do  not  think  that  the  things  of  heaven  are  to  be 
preferred  to  those  of  earth.  There  can  be  no 
worldly  boasting  among  them,  if  they  reflect  how 
vain  a  thing  it  is  that  they  should,  in  smaller  mat- 
ters, prefer  themselves  to  those  whom  they  know 
to  be  equal  to  themselves  in  greater  matters,  and 
should  regard,  as  placed  below  themselves  on 
earth,  those  whom  they  believe  to  be  equal  to 
themselves  in  what  relates  to  heaven.  But  do 
thou,  who  art  a  virgin  of  Christ,  and  not  of  the 
world,  flee  from  all  the  glory  of  this  present  life, 
that  thou  mayest  attain  to  the  glory  which  is 
promised  in  the  world  to  come. 

CHAPTER   XVII. 

Avoid  words  of  contention  and  causes  of  ani- 
mosity :  flee  also  from  all  occasions  of  discord 

^  Isa.  xxvi.  15,  after  the  LXX. 

3  Jer.  xii.  13,  after  the  LXX. 

*      divini  lavacri " :  referring  to  baptism. 


and  strife.  For  if,  according  to  the  doctrine  of 
the  Apostle  "  the  servant  ^  of  the  Lord  must  not 
strive,"  how  much  more  does  this  become  the 
handmaid  of  the  Lord,  whose  mind  ought  to  be 
more  gentle,  as  her  sex  is  more  bashful  and 
retiring.  Restrain  thy  tongue  from  evil  speak- 
ing, and  put  the  bridle  of  the  law  upon  thy 
mouth  ;  so  that  you  shall  speak,  if  you  speak  at 
all,  only  when  it  would  be  a  sin  to  be  silent. 
Beware  lest  you  utter  anything  which  might  be 
justly  found  fault  with.  A  word  once  spoken  is 
like  a  stone  which  has  been  thrown  :  wherefore 
it  should  be  long  thought  over  before  it  is 
uttered.  Blessed,  assuredly,  are  the  lips,  which 
never  utter  what  they  would  wish  to  recall. 
The  talk  of  a  chaste  mind  ought  itself  also  to  be 
chaste,  such  as  may  always  rather  edify  than 
injure  the  hearers,  according  to  that  command- 
ment of  the  Apostle  when  he  says,  "  Let  no  ^ 
corrupt  communications  proceed  out  of  your 
mouth,  but  that  which  is  good  for  the  edification 
of  faith,  that  it  may  convey  grace  to  them  that 
hear."  Precious  to  God  is  that  tongue  which 
knows  not  to  form  words  except  about  divine 
things,  and  holy  is  that  mouth  from  which 
heavenly  utterances  continually  flow  forth.  Put 
down  by  the  authority  of  Scripture  calumniators 
of  those  who  are  absent,  as  being  evil-minded 
persons,  because  the  prophet  mentions  this  also 
as  among  the  virtues  of  a  perfect  man,  if,  in  the 
presence  of  the  righteous  an  evil-minded  man, 
who  brings  forward  things  against  his  neighbor 
which  cannot  be  proved,  is  brought  down  to 
nothing.  For  it  is  not  lawful  for  you  patiently 
to  listen  to  evil-speaking  against  another,  inas- 
much as  you  would  not  wish  that  to  be  done  by 
others  when  directed  against  yourself.  Certainly, 
everything  is  unrighteous  which  goes  against  the 
Gospel  of  Christ,  and  that  is  the  case,  if  you 
quietly  permit  anything  to  be  done  to  another, 
which  you  would  feel  painful,  if  done  by  any 
one  to  yourself.  Accustom  your  tongue  always 
to  speak  about  those  who  are  good,  and  lend 
your  ears  rather  to  listen  to  the  praises  of  good 
men  than  to  the  condemnation  of  such  as  are 
wicked.  Take  heed  that  all  the  good  actions 
you  perform  are  done  for  the  sake  of  God, 
knowing  that  for  every  such  deed  you  will  only 
receive  a  reward,  so  far  as  you  have  done  it  out 
of  regard  to  his  fear  and  love.  Study  rather  to 
be  holy  than  to  appear  so,  because  it  is  of  no 
avail  to  be  reckoned  what  you  are  not ;  and  the 
guilt  of  a  twofold  sin  is  contracted  when  you  do 
not  have  what  you  are  credited  with  having,  and 
wlien  you  pretend  to  possess  what  you  do  not 
possess. 


1  2  Tim.  ii.  24. 


-  Eph.  iv.  29. 


LETTERS   OF    SULPITIUS    SEVERUS    (Doubtful). 


67 


CHAPTER   XVIII. 

Delight  thyself  rather  in  fastings  than  in 
feastings,  mindful  of  that  widow  who  did  not 
depart  from  the  temple,  but  served  God  with 
fastings  and  prayers  day  and  night.  Now,  if 
she  who  was  a  widow,  and  a  Jewish  widow, 
proved  herself  such,  what  is  it  fitting  that  a  vir- 
gin of  Christ  should  now  attain  to  ?  Love  more 
than  any  other  thing  the  feast  of  the  divine 
word,  and  desire  that  you  be  filled  with  spiritual 
dainties,  while  you  seek  for  such  food  as  re- 
freshes the  soul,  rather  than  for  that  which  only 
pleases  the  body.  Flee  from  all  kinds  of  flesh 
and  wine,  as  being  the  sources  of  heat  and 
provocatives  to  lust.  And  only  then,  if  need  be, 
use  a  little  wine,  when  the  stomach's  uneasiness, 
or  great  infirmity  of  body,  requires  you  to  do 
so.  Subdue  anger,  restrain  enmity,  and  what- 
ever there  may  be  which  gives  rise  to  remorse 
when  it  is  done,  avoid  as  an  abomination  giving 
rise'  to  immediate  sin.  It  is  fitting  that  that 
mind  should  be  very  tranquil  and  quiet,  as  well 
as  free  from  all  the  tumults  of  anger,  which 
desires  to  be  the  dwelling-place  of  God,  as  he 
testifies  through  the  prophet,  saying,  "  Upon  - 
what  other  man  shall  I  rest  than  upon  him  who 
is  humble  and  quiet,  and  who  trembleth  at  my 
words?"  Believe  that  God  is  a  witness  of  all 
thy  deeds  and  thoughts,  and  take  good  heed  lest 
you  either  do  or  think  anything  which  is  un- 
worthy of  the  divine  eyesight.  When  you  de- 
sire to  engage  in  prayer,  show  yourself  in  such 
a  frame  of  mind  as  becomes  one  who  is  to  speak 
with  the  Lord. 


CHAPTER  XIX. 

When  you  repeat'  a  psalm,  consider  whose 
words  you  are  repeating  and  delight  yourself 
more  with  true  contrition  of  soul,  than  with  the 
pleasantness  of  a  trilling  voice.  For  God  sets  a 
higher  value  on  the  tears  of  one  thus  praising  ^ 
him,  than  on  the  beauty  of  his  voice  ;  as  the 
prophet  says,  "  Serve  ^  the  Lord  with  fear,  and 
rejoice  with  trembling."  Now,  where  there  are 
fear  and  trembling,  there  is  no  lifting  up  of  the 
voice,  but  humility  of  mind  with  lamentation 
and  tears.  Display  diligence  in  all  thy  doings ; 
for  it  is  written,  "Cursed*  is  the  man  who 
carelessly  performs  the  work  of  the  Lord." 
Let  grace  grow  in  you  with  years  ;  let  righteous- 
ness increase  with  age  ;  and  let  your  faith  ap- 
pear the  more  perfect  the   older  you  become ; 

•  "  velut  proximi  criminis  aborainationem  declina":  the  text 
and  construction  are  both  very  uncertain,  so  that  we  can  only  make 
a  guess  at  the  meaning. 

^  Isa.  Ixvi.  2. 

'  "  dicis  ":  the  reference  seems  to  be  to  singing  or  chanting. 

*  "  psallentis."  ^  Ps.  ii.  11.  *  Jer.  xlviii.  10. 


for  Jesus,  who  has  left  us  an  example  how  to 
live,  increased  not  only  in  years  as  respected 
his  body,  but  in  wisdom  and  spiritual  grace  be- 
fore God  and  men.  Reckon  all  the  time  in 
which  you  do  not  perceive  yourself  growing 
better  as  positively  lost.  Maintain  to  the  last 
that  purpose  of  virginity  which  you  have  formed  ; 
for  it  is  the  part  of  virtue  not  merely  to  begin, 
but  to  finish,  as  the  Lord  says  in  the  Gospel, 
"Whosoever^  shall  endure  to  the  end,  the  same 
shall  be  saved."  Beware,  therefore,  lest  you 
furnish  to  any  one  an  occasion  even  of  evil 
desire,  because  thy  God,  betrothed  to  thee,  is 
jealous ;  for  an  adulteress  against  Chdst  is  more 
guilty  than  one  against  her  husband.  Be  thou, 
therefore,  a  model  of  life  to  all ;  be  an  example  ; 
and  excel  in  actual  conduct  those  whom  you 
precede  in  your  consecration  "^  to  chastity. 
Show  thyself  in  all  respects  a  virgin ;  and  let 
no  stain  of  corruption  be  brought  as  a  charge 
against  thy  person.  And  let  one  whose  body  is 
perfect  in  its  purity  be  also  irreproachable  in 
conduct.  Now,  as  we  said  in  the  beginning  of 
this  letter,  that  you  have  become  a  sacrifice  per- 
taining to  God,  such  a  sacrifice  as  undoubtedly 
imparts  its  own  sanctity  also  to  others,  that,  as 
every  one  worthily  receives  from  it,  he  himself 
also  may  be  a  partaker  of  sanctification,  so 
then,  let  the  other  virgins  also  be  sanctified 
through  you,  as  by  means  of  a  divine  offering. 
Show  yourself  to  them  so  holy  in  all  things, 
that,  whosoever  comes  in  contact  with  thy  life, 
whether  by  hearing  or  seeing,  may  experience 
the  power  of  sanctification,  and  may  feel  that 
such  an  amount  of  grace  passes  to  him  from 
your  manner  of  acting,  that,  while  he  desires  to 
imitate  th^e,  he  himself  becomes  worthy  of  being 
a  sacrifice  devoted  to  God. 


LETTER    in. 

A    LETTER    OF    SEVERUS    TO    HOLY   PAUL   THE 
BISHOP. 

After  I  learned  that  all  thy  cooks  had  given' 
up  thy  kitchen  (I  believe  because  they  felt  in- 
dignant at  having  to  fulfill  the  duty  towards  cheap 
dishes  of  pulse-),  I  sent  a  little  boy  to  you  out 
of  our  own  workshop.  He  is  quite  skillful  enough 
to  cook  pale  beans  and  to  pickle  homely  beet- 
root, with  vinegar  and  sauce,  as  well  as  to  pre- 
pare cheap  porridge  for  the  jaws  of  the  hungry 
monks.  He  knows  nothing,  however,  of  pepper 
or  of  laser,'*  but  he  is  quite  at  home  with  cumin, 


'  Matt.  X.  22. 

"  The  text  and  meaning  are  here  somewhat  uncertain, 
^  "  renuntiasse." 

-  "  pulmentariis ":    this  word    generally   means   some    sort    of 
relish,  but  here  it  seems  to  denote  a  kind  of  pottage. 
^  Laser  was  the  juice  of  a  plant  called  laserpitium. 


68 


THE   WRITINGS    OF    SULPITIUS    SEVERUS. 


and  is  especially  clever  in  plying  the  noisy  mor- 
tar with  sweetly  smelling  plants.  He  has  one 
fault,  that  he  is  no  kindly  foe  to  admit  to  any 
garden  ;  for  if  let  in,  he  will  mow  down  with  a 
sword  all  things  within  his  reach,  and  he  will 
never  be  satisfied  with  the  slaughter  simply  of 
mallows.  However,  in  furnishing  himself  with 
fuel  he  will  not  swindle  you.  He  will  burn  what- 
ever comes  in  his  way ;  he  will  cut  down  and 
not  hesitate  to  lay  hands  upon  buildings,  and  to 
carry  off  old  beams  from  the  househol(i|  We 
present  him,  then,  to  you,  with  this  character 
and  these  virtues  ;  and  we  wish  you  to  regard 
him  not  as  a  servant,  but  as  a  son,  because  you 
are  not  ashamed  to  be  the  father  of  very  small 
creatures.  I  myself  would  have  wished  to  serve 
you  instead  of  him ;  but  if  good-will  may  be 
taken  as  in  some  measure  standing  for  the  deed, 
do  you  only,  in  return,  take  care  to  remember 
me  amid  your  breakfasts  and  delightful  dinners, 
because  it  is  more  proper  to  be  your  slave,  than 
the  master  of  others.     Pray  for  me.'' 


LETTER    IV. 

TO    THE    SAME,    ON    HIS   WISDOM   AND     GENTLENESS. 

The  faithful  exponent  of  our  holy  religion  so 
arranges  all  things  that  no  place  be  found  in 
future  for  transgressors  :  for  what  else  do  you, 
for  instance,  promise  us  by  so  great  sanctity  of 
character,  than  that,  all  errors  being  laid  aside, 
we  should  lead  a  blessed  life?  In  this  matter, 
I  see  that  the  greatest  praise  befits  thy  virtues, 
b(^ause  you  have  changed  even  an  uninstructed 
mind  by  your  exhortations,  and  drawr^  it  over  to 
an  excellent  condition.  But  it  would  not  seem 
so  wonderful,  if  you  had  simply  strengthened 
educated  minds  by  instilling  wisdom  into  them ; 
for  intelligent  men  have  a  sort  of  relationship  to 
devotion,  but  rustic  natures  are  not  easily  won 
over  to  the  side  of  severity.^  Just  as  those  who 
shape  the  forms  of  animals  out  of  stone,  under- 
take a  business  of  a  pretty  difficult  kind,  when 
they  strike  very  hard  rocks  with  their  chisels, 
while  those  who  make  their  attempts  on  sub- 
stances of  a  softer  nature  feel  that  their  hands 
are  aided  by  the  ease  of  fashioning  these  mate- 
rials, and  it  is  deemed  proper  that  the  labor  of 
the  workman,  when  difficult,  should  be  held  in 
the  highest  honor,  so,  Sir,  singular  commenda- 
tion ought  so  be  given  to  you,  because  you  have 
made  unpolished  and  rustic  minds,  set  free  from 
the  darkness  of  sin,  both  to  think  what  is  human, 
and  to  understand  what  is  divine. 


*  Clericus  remarks,  "  Jocosa  haec  est  epistola,"  but  the  fun  is 
certainly  of  a  very  ponderous  kind.  We  arc,  by  no  means,  sure  of 
the  sense  in  some  parts  of  the  letter. 

'  "  crudelitati,"  which,  as  Clericus  remarks,  must  here  be 
equivalent  to  severitati. 


No  less  is  Xenocrates,  by  far  the  most  learned 
of  the  philosophers,  held  in  estimation,  who  suc- 
ceeded by  severe  exhortations  in  having  luxury 
conquered.  For  when  a  certain  Polemo,  heavy 
with  wine,  staggered  openly  out  of  a  nocturnal 
revel  at  the  time  when  his  hearers  were  flocking 
to  the  school  of  Xenocrates,  he,  too,  entered  the 
place,  and  impudently  took  his  seat  among  the 
crowd  of  disciples,  in  that  dress  in  which  he  had 
come  forth  from  the  banquet.  A  chaplet  of 
flowers  covered  his  head,  and  yet  he  did  not 
feel  ashamed  that  he  would  seem  unlike  all  the 
others,  because,  in  truth,  indulgence  in  a  long 
drinking-bout  had  upset  his  brains,  which  are 
the  seat  of  reason.  As  the  rest  of  those  there 
present  began  to  murmur  grievously,  because  so 
unsuitable  a  hearer  had  found  his  way  in  among 
a  multitude  of  men  of  letters,  the  master  him- 
self was  not  in  the  slightest  degree  disturbed, 
but,  on  the  contrary,  began  to  discourse  on  the 
science  of  morals,  and  the  laws  of  moderation. 
And  so  powerful  proved  the  influence  of  the 
teacher  that  the  mind  of  that  impudent  intruder 
was  persuaded  to  the  love  of  modesty.  First  of 
all,  then,  Polemo,  in  utter  confusion,  took  off 
the  chaplet  from  his  head,  and  professed  himself 
a  disciple.  And  in  course  of  time  he  con- 
formed himself  so  thoroughly  to  the  duties  im- 
plied in  dignity,  and  surrendered  himself  so 
entirely  to  the  exhibition  of  modesty,  that  a 
glorious  amendment  of  character  threw  a  cloak 
over  the  habits  of  his  former  life.  Now  we 
admire  this  very  thing  in  your  instructions,  that, 
without  the  use  of  any  threats,  and  without 
having  recourse  to  terrors  of  any  kind,  you  have 
turned  infatuated  minds  to  the  worship  of  God  \ 
so  that  even  a  badly  ordered  intellect  should 
believe  it  preferable  -  to  live  well  and  happily 
with  all,  rather  than  to  hold  unrighteous  opinions 
with  a  few. 


LETTER    V. 

TO     AN     UNKNOWN     PERSON,    ENTREATING     HIM     TO 
DEAL    GENTLY   WITH    HIS    BROTHER. 

Although  my  lord  and  brother  has  already 
begged  of  your  nobleness  that  you  would  see 
that  Tutus  should  be  most^  safe,  yet  it  has  been 
allowed  to  me  to  commend  the  same  person  in 
a  letter,  in  order  that,  by  the  petition  being 
doubled,  he  may  be  held  all  the  safer.  For  let 
it  be  granted  that  a  youthful  fault  and  error  of  a 
yet  unsettled  age  has  injured  him,  so  as  to  in- 
flict a  stain  on  his  early  years  ;  still  one,  who  did 
not  yet  know  what  was  due   to  right   conduct, 


^  "  rectissimum,"  where  rectiics  might  have  been  expected. 

1  There  is  a  play  upon  the  words  —  "  Tutum  esse  tutissimum." 


LETTERS  OF  SULPITIUS  SEVERUS  (Doubtful). 


69 


has  gone  wrong  almost  without  contracting 
blame.  For  when  he  came  to  a  right  state  of 
mind  and  to  reflection,  he  understood  on  better 
thoughts  that  a  theatrical  life  was  to  be  con- 
demned. However,  he  could  not  be  completely 
cleared  of  his  fiult,  unless  he  should  wash  its 
guilt  away  by  the  aid  -  of  Deity,  since,  by  the 
remedy  obtained  through  the  Catholic  religion, 
changing  his  views,  he  has  denied  himself  the 
enjovment  of  a  less  honorable  place,  and  has 
withdrawn  himself  from  the  eyes  of  the  people. 

OF   THE    ISIASTER   AS    ABOVE. ^ 

Since,  therefore,  both  divine  and  state  laws 
do  not  permit  a  faithful  body  and  sanctified 
minds  to  exhibit  disgraceful  though  pleasing 
spectacles,  and  to  set  forth  vulgar  means  of  en- 
joyment, especially  since  an  injury  seems  in 
some  degree  to  accrue  to  the  chaste  dedication 
of  one's  self,  in  case  any  one  who  has  been  re- 
newed by  holy  baptism  should  fall  back  upon 
his  old  licentiousness,  it  behooves  your  Excel- 
lency to  show  favor  to  good  intentions,  so  that 
he  who,  by  the  goodness  of  God,  has  entered  on 
a  pious  duty,  should  not  be  forced  to  sink  into 
the  pitfall  of  the  theatre.  He  does  not,  how- 
ever, refuse  compliance  with  the  judgment  of 
you  all,  if  you  enjoin  other  fitting  actions  on  his 
part  m  behalf  of  the  requirements  of  our  com- 
mon country.^ 


LETTER    VI. 

TO  SALVIUS  :  A  COMPLAINT  THAT  THE  COUNTRY 
PEOPLE  WERE  HARASSED,  AND  THEIR  POSSES- 
SIONS  PLUNDERED. 

Forensic  excitement  ought  to  be  at  full  heat 
during  the  time  of  business  in  the  law-courts  ;  for 
it  is  fitting  that  the  arms  of  industry,  as  it  strug- 
gles daily,  should  display  energetic  movements. 
But  when  loud-toned  eloquence  has  sounded 
a  retreat,  and  has  retired  to  peaceful  groves 
and  pleasant  dwelling-places,  it  is  right  that  one 
lay  aside  idle  murmurs,  and  cease  to  utter 
ineffectual  threats.  For  we  know  that  palm- 
bearing  steeds,  when  they  have  retired  from  the 
circus,  rest  with  the  utmost  quietness  in  their 
stables.  Neither  constant  fear  nor  doubtful 
palms  of  victory  distress  them,  but  at  length, 
haltered  to  the  peaceful  cribs,  they  now  no 
longer  stand  in  awe  of  the  master  urging  them 
on,  enjoying  sweet  oblivion  of  the  restless  rivalry 


^  "  divinitatis  accessu  ":   the  context  is  almost  unintelligible. 

'  This  probably  denotes  that  what  follows  is  the  substance  of 
the  Master's  petition. 

*  Clericus,  while  accepting  most  of  the  letters  with  which  we  are 
now  dealing,  doubts,  from  the  difference  of  style,  whether  this  is 
an  epistle  of  Sulpitius.  It  is  certainly  very  different  from  his  usual 
clearness  and  correctness. 


which  had  prevailed.  In  like  manner,  let  it 
delight  the  boastful  soldier  after  his  term  of  ser- 
vice is  completed,  to  hang  up  his  trophies,  and 
patiently  to  bear  the  burden  of  age. 

But  I  do  not  quite  understand  why  you  should 
take  a  delight  in  terrifying  miserable  husband- 
men ;  and  I  do  not  comprehend  why  you  wish 
to  harass  my  rustics  with  the  fear  of  want  of 
sustenance  ;  ^  as  if,  indeed,  I  did  not  know  how 
to  console  them,  and  to  deliver  them  from  fear, 
and  to  show  them  that  there  is  not  so  great  a 
reason  to  fear  as  you  pretend.  I  confess  that, 
while  we  were  occupied  in  the  plain,  I  was  often 
frightened  by  the  arms  of  your  eloquence,  but 
frequently  I  returned  you  corresponding  blows, 
as  far  as  I  was  able.  I  certainly  learned  along 
with  you,  by  what  right,  and  in  wliat  order,  the 
husbandmen  are  demanded  back,  to  whom  a 
legal  process  is  competent,  and  to  whom  the 
issue  of  a  process  is  not  competent.  You  say 
that  the  Volusians  wished  you  brought  back,  and 
frequently,  in  your  wrath,  you  repeat  that  you 
will  withdraw  the  country  people  from  my  little 
keep ;  and  you,  the  very  man,  as  I  hope  and 
desire,  bound  to  me  by  the  ties  of  old  rela- 
tionship, now  rashly  threaten  that,  casting  our 
agreement  to  the  winds,  you  will  lay  hold  upon 
my  men.  I  ask  of  your  illustrious  knowledge, 
whether  there  is  one  law  for  advocates,  and  an- 
other for  private  persons,  whether  one  thing  is 
just  at  Rome,  and  quite  another  thing  at  Mat- 
arum. 

In  the  meantime,  I  do  not  know  that  you 
were  ever  lord  of  the  Volusian  property,  since 
Dionysius  is  said  to  have  preserved  the  right  of 
possession  to  it,  and  he  never  wanted  heirs ; 
who,  while  he  lived,  was  accustomed  to  hurl 
the  envenomed  jibes  of  his  low  language  upon 
a  multitude  of  individuals.-  There  was,  at  that 
time,  one  Porphyrins,  the  son  of  Zibberinus,  and 
yet  he  was  not  properly  named  the  son  of  Zib- 
berinus. He  kept  hidden,  by  military  service, 
the  question  as  to  his  birth,  and,  that  he  might 
dispel  the  cloud  from  his  forehead,  he  took 
part  in  officious  services  and  willing  acts  of 
submission.  He  was  much  with  me  both  at 
home  and  in  the  forum,  having  often  employed 
me  as  his  defender  with  my  father,  and  as  his 
advocate  before  the  judge.  Sometimes  I  even 
kept  back  Dionysius,  feeling  that  he  ought  not, 
for  the  sake  of  twenty  acres  to  discharge  vulgar 
abuse  upon  Porphyrius. 

See,  here  is  the  reason  why  thy  remarkable 
prudence  threatened  my  agents,  so  that,  though 
you  are  not  the  owner  of  the  place,  you  every- 
where make  mention  of  my  husbandmen. 
But  if  you  give  yourself  out  as  the  successor 
of  Porphyrius,  you  must  know  that  the  narrow 

1  "  exhibitionis  formidine  "  —  a  strange  phrase. 

-  The  text  is  uncertain,  and  the  meaning  very  obscure. 


70 


THE    WRITINGS    OF    SULPITIUS    SEVERUS. 


space  of  twenty  acres  cannot  certainly  be  man- 
aged by  one  cultivator,  or,  if  mindful  of  your 
proper  dignity  and  determined  to  maintain  it, 
you  shrink  from  naming  yourself  the  heir  of 
Porphyrins,  it  is  certain  and  obvious  that  he  can 
commence  proceedings,''  to  whom  the  right  of 
doing  so  belongs,  so  as  to  go  to  law  with  those 
who  have  no  property  in  that  land.  But  if  you 
diligently  look  into  the  matter,  you  will  see  that 
the  endeavor  to  recover  it  most  especially  de- 
volves on  me.  AVherefore,  my  much  esteemed 
lord  and  brother,  it  behooves  you  to  be  at  peace, 
and  to  return  to  friendship  with  me,  while  you 
condescend  to  come  to  a  private  conference. 
Cease,  I  pray  you,  to  disturb  inactive  and 
easily  frightened  persons,  and  utter  your  boastful 
words  at  a  distance.  Believe  me,  however,  that 
I  am  delighted  with  your  high  spirit,  and  by  no 
means  offended ;  for  we  are  neither  of  a  harsh 

3  "  posse  proponere." 

^  We  thoroughly  agree  with  Clericus  that  this  letter  is,  in  style, 
more  alien  even  than  the  preceding  from  the  genuine  epistles  of 
Sulpitiiis.  It  is  barbarous  as  regards  composition,  and  in  several 
places  not  intelligible. 


disposition,  nor  destitute  of  learning.     Let  Max- 
iminus  at  least  render  you  gentle.'* 


LETTER   VII. 

TO     AN     UNKNOWN     PERSON,    BEGGING     THE     FAVOR 
OF   A    LETTER. 

The  faith  and  piety  of  souls,  no  doubt,  re- 
main, but  this  should  be  made  known  by  the 
evidence  of  a  letter,  in  order  that  an  increase  of 
affection  may  be  gained  by  such  mutual  cour- 
tesy. For  just  as  a  fertile  field  cannot  bring 
forth  abundant  fruits,  if  its  cultivation  has  been 
neglected,  and  the  good  qualities  of  soil  are  lost 
through  the  indolence  of  one  who  rests,  instead 
of  working,  so  I  think  that  the  love  and  kindly 
feelings  of  the  mind  grow  feeble,  unless  those 
who  are  absent  are  visited,  as  if  present,  by 
means  of  a  letter.^ 

^  Most  editions  add  "  Deo  gratias,  Amen." 


THE    SACRED    HISTORY   OF   SULPITIUS    SEVERUS. 


-oojacjoo- 


BOOK    I. 

CHAPTER   I. 

I  ADDRESS  myself  to  give  a  condensed  account 
of  those  things  which  are  set  forth  in  the  sacred 
Scriptures  from  the  beginning  of  the  world, 
and  to  tell  of  them,  with  distinction  of  dates, 
and  according  to^  their  importance,  down  to  a 
period  within  our  own  remembrance.  Many 
who  were  anxious  to  become  acquainted  with 
divine  things  by  means  of  a  compendious  treat- 
ise, have  eagerly  entreated  me  to  undertake  this 
work.  I,  seeking  to  carry  out  their  wish,  have 
not  spared  my  labor,  and  have  thus  succeeded 
in  comprising  in  two  short  books  things  which 
elsewhere  filled  many  volumes.  At  the  same 
time,  in  studying  brevity,  I  have  omitted  hardly 
any  of  the  facts.  Moreover,  it  seemed  to  me 
not  out  of  place  that,  after  I  had  run  through 
the  sacred  history  down  to  the  crucifixion  of 
Christ,  and  the  doings  of  the  Apostles,  I  should 
add  an  account  of  events  which  subsequently 
took  place.  I  am,  therefore,  to  tell  of  the  de- 
struction of  Jerusalem,  the  persecutions  of  the 
Christian  people,  the  times  of  peace  which  fol- 
lowed, and  of  all  things  again  thrown  into  con- 
fusion by  the  intestine  dangers  of  the  churches. 
But  I  will  not  shrink  from  confessing  that,  wher- 
ever reason  required,  I  have  made  use  of  pro- 
fane historians  to  fix  dates  and  preserve  the 
series  of  events  unbroken,  and  have  taken  out 
of  these  what  was  wanting  to  a  complete  knowl- 
edge of  the  facts,  that  I  might  both  instruct  the 
ignorant  and  carry  conviction  to  the  learned. 
Nevertheless,  as  to  those  things  which  I  have 
condensed  from  the  sacred  books,  I  do  not  wish 
so  to  present  myself  as  an  author  to  my  readers, 
that  they,  neglecting  the  source  from  which  my 
materials  have  been  derived,  should  be  satisfied 
with  what  I  have  written.  My  aim  is  that  one 
who  is  already  familiar  with  the  original  should 
recognize  here  what  he  has  read  there  ;  for  all 
the  mysteries  of  divine  things  cannot  be  brought 
out  except  from  the  fountain-head  itself.  I 
shall  now  enter  upon  my  narrative. 


^  "  carptim  " :  such  seems  to  be  the  meaning  of  the  word  here, 
as  Sigonitis  has  noted.  His  words  are  "  Carptim —  profecto  innuit 
se  non  singulas  res  eodem  modo  persecuturum,  sed  quae  memoratu 
digniores  visse  fuerint,  selecturum." 


CHAPTER   H. 

The  world  was  created  by  God  nearly  six^ 
thousand  years  ago,  as  we  shall  set  forth  in  the 
course  of  this  book ;  although  those  who  have 
entered  upon  and  published  a  calculation  of  the 
dates,  but  little  agree  among  themselves.  As, 
however,  this  disagreement  is  due  either  to  the 
will  of  God  or  to  the  fault  of  antiquity,  it  ought 
not  to  be  a  matter  of  censure.  After  the  forma- 
tion of  the  world  man  was  created,  the  male 
being  named  Adam,  and  the  female  Eve.  Hav- 
ing been  placed  in  Paradise,  they  ate  of  the  tree 
from  which  they  were  interdicted,  and  therefore 
were  cast  forth  as  exiles  into  our  earth. ^  To 
them  were  born  Cain  and  Abel ;  but  Cain,  being 
an  impious  man,  slew  his  brother.  He  had  a 
son  called  Enoch,  by  whom  a  city  was  first 
built,'  and  was  called  after  the  name  of  its 
founder.  From  him  Irad,  and  from  him  again 
Maiiiahel  was  descended.  He  had  a  son  called 
Mathusalam,  and  he,  in  turn,  begat  Lamech,  by 
whom  a  young  man  is  said  to  have  been  slain, 
without,  however,  the  name  of  the  slain  man 
being  mentioned  —  a  fact  which  is  thought  by  the 
wise  to  have  presaged  a  future  mystery.  Adam, 
then,  after  the  death  of  his  younger  son,  begat 
another  son  called  Seth,  when  he  was  now  two 
hundred  and  thirty  years  old  :  he  lived  alto- 
gether eight  hundred  and  thirty  years.  Seth 
begat  Enos,  Enos  Cainan,  Cainan  Malaleel,  Ma- 
laleel  Jared,  and  Jared  Enoch,  who  on  account 
of  his  righteousness  is  said  to  have  been  trans- 
lated by  God.  His  son  was  called  Mathusalam 
who  begat  Lamech ;  from  whom  Noah  was  de- 
scended, remarkable  for  his  righteousness,  and 
above  all  other  mortals  dear  and  acceptable  to 
God.  When  by  this  time  the  human  race  had 
increased  to  a  great  multitude,  certain  angels, 
whose  habitation  was  in  heaven,  were  captivated 
by  the  appearance  of  some  beautiful  virgins,  and 
cherished  illicit  desires  after  them,  so  much  so, 
that  falling  beneath  their  own  proper  nature  and 
origin,  they  left  the  higher  regions  of  which  they 

'  Sulpitius  follows  the  Greek  version,  which  ascribes  many  more 
years  to  the  fathers  of  mankind  than  does  the  original  Hebrew. 

-  Many  of  the  ancients  (among  whom  our  author  is  apparently 
to  be  reckoned)  believed  that  Paradise  was  situated  outside  our 
world  altogether. 

3  An  obvious  mistake.  The  first  city  was  built,  not  by  Enoch, 
but  by  Cain.     Gen.  iv.  17. 


72 


THE   WRITINGS    OF    SULPITIUS    SEVERUS. 


I 


were  inhabitants,  and  allied  themselves  in  earthly 
marriages.  These  angels  gradually  spreading 
wicked  habits,  corrupted  the  human  family,  and 
from  their  alliance  giants  are  said  to  have 
sprung,  for  the  mixture  with  them  of  beings  of 
a  different  nature,  as  a  matter  of  course,  gave 
birth  to  monsters. 


CHAPTER   III. 

God  being  offended  by  these  things,  and  es- 
pecially by  the  wickedness  of  mankind,  which 
had  gone  beyond  measure,  had  determined  to 
destroy  the  whole  human  race.  But  he  ex- 
empted Noah,  a  righteous  man  and  of  blameless 
life,  from  the  destined  doom.  He  being  warned 
by  God  that  a  flood  was  coming  upon  the  earth, 
built  an  ark  of  wood  of  immense  size,  and 
covered  it  with  pitch  so  as  to  render  it  im- 
pervious to  water.  He  was  shut  into  it  along 
with  his  wife,  and  his  three  sons  and  his  three 
daughters-in-law.  Pairs  oi  birds  also  and  of 
the  different  kinds  of  beasts  were  likewise  re- 
ceived into  it,  while  all  the  rest  were  cut  off  by  a 
flood.  Noah  then,  when  he  understood  that  the 
violence  of  the  rain  had  ceased,  and  that  the 
ark  was  quietly  floating  on  the  deep,  thinking 
(as  really  was  the  case)  that  the  waters  were 
decreasing,  sent  forth  first  a  raven  for  the  pur- 
pose of  enquiring  into  the  matter,  and  on  its 
not  returning,  having  settled,  as  I  conjecture,  on 
the  dead  bodies,  he  then  sent  forth  a  dove. 
It,  not  finding  a  place  of  rest,  returned  to  him, 
and  being  again  sent  out,  it  brought  back  an 
olive  leaf,  in  manifest  proof  that  the  tops  of  the 
trees  were  now  to  be  seen.  Then  being  sent 
forth  a  third  time,  it  returned  no  more,  from 
which  it  was  understood  that  the  waters  had 
subsiiled ;  and  Noah  accordingly  went  out  from 
the  ark.  This  was  done,  as  I  reckon,  two  thou- 
sand two  hundred  ^  and  forty-two  years  after 
the  beginning  of  the  world. 


CHAPTER   IV. 

Them  Noah  first  of  all  erected  an  altar  to 
God,  and  offered  sacrifices  from  among  the 
birds.'  Immediately  afterwards  he  was  blessed 
by  God  along  with  his  sons,  and  received  a 
command  that  he  should  not  eat  blood,  or  shed 
the  blood  of  any  human  being,  because  Cain, 
having  no  such  precept,  had  stained  the  first 
age  of  the  world.  Accordingly,  the  sons  of 
Noah  were  alone  left  in  the  then  vacant  world  ; 
for  he  had  three,  Shem,  Ham,  and  Japhet.  But 
Ham,  because  he  had  mocked  his  father  when 

1  After  the  LXX,  as  usual. 

^  Not  of  l'!r<is  only,  but  other  animals  also.     Gen.  viii.  20. 


senseless  with  wine,  incurred  his  father's  curse. 
His  son,  Chas  by  name,  begat  the  giant  Neb- 
roth,^  by  whom  the  city  of  Babylon  is  said  to 
have  been  built.  Many  other  towns  are  related 
to  have  been  founded  at  that  time,  which  I  do 
not  here  intend  to  name  one  by  one.  put 
although  the  human  race  was  now  multiplied, 
and  men  occupied  different  places  and  islands, 
nevertheless  all  made  use  of  one  tongue,  as  long 
as  the  multitude,  afterwards  to  be  scattered 
through  the  wliole  world,  kept  itself  in  one 
body.  These,  after  the  manner  of  human  na- 
ture, formed  the  design  of  obtaining  a  great 
name  by  constructing  some  great  work  before 
they  should  be  separated  from  one  another. 
They  therefore  attempted  to  build  a  tower 
which  should  reach  up  to  heaven.  But  bj'  the 
ordination  of  God,  in  order  that  the  labors  of 
those  engaged  in  the  work  might  be  hindered, 
they  began  to  speak  in  a  kind  of  langiiages  very 
different  from  their  accustomed  form  of  speech, 
while  no  one  understood  the  others.  This  led 
to  their  being  all  the  more  readily  dispersed, 
because,  regarding  each  other  as  foreigners,  they 
were  easily  induced  to  separate.  And  the  world 
was  so  divided  to  the  sons  of  Noah,  that  Shem 
occupied  the  East,  Japhet  the  West,  and  Ham 
the  intermediate  parts.  After  this,  till  the  time 
of  Abraham,''  their  genealogy  presented  nothing 
very  remarkable  or  worthy  of  record. 


CHAPTER  V. 

ABrLA.HAM,  whose  fother  was  Thara,  was  born  in 
the  one  thousand  and  seventeenth  year  after  the 
deluge.  His  wife  was  called  Sara,  and  his  dwel- 
ling-place was  at  first  in  the  country  ^  of  the  Chal- 
dreans.  He  then  dwelt  along  with  his  father  at 
Charrae.  Being  at  this  time  spoken  to  by  God, 
he  left  his  country  and  his  father,  and  taking 
with  him  Lot,  the  son  of  his  brother,  he  came 
into  the  country  of  the  Canaanites,  and  settled 
at  a  place  named  Sychem.  Ere  long,  owing  to 
the  want  of  corn,  he  went  into  Egypt,  and  again 
returned.  Lot,  owing  to  the  size  of  the  house- 
hold, parted  from  his  uncle,  that  he  might  take 
advantage  of  more  spacious  territories  in  what 
was  then  a  vacant  region,  and  settled  at  Sodom. 
That  town  was  infamous  on  account  of  its  in- 
habitants, males  forcing  themselves  upon  males, 
and  it  is  said  on  that  account  to  have  been  hate- 
ful to  God.  At  that  period  the  kings  of  the 
neighboring  peoples  were  in  arms,  though  pre- 
viously   there    had    been  no- war  among  man- 


-  This  is  the  Afi'iiirmi  of  ihc  A.  V.;  he  is  called  Nchrod  by  the 
I,XX.  We  have,  for  the  most  part,  given  the  proper  names  as  they 
appear  in  the  edition  of  Halm. 

^  Such  is  the  form  of  the  name  as  given  by  Halm,  though  Abratn 
would  be  expected. 

>  The  I>XX  has  x<^P<?.  instead  of  Ur. 

-  A  most  improbable  statement. 


THE    SACRED    HISTORY  OF    SULPITIUS    SEVERUS. 


1Z 


kind.  But  the  kings  of  Sodom  and  Gomorrah 
and  of  the  adjacent  territories  went  forth  to 
battle  against  those  who  were  making  war  upon 
the  regions  round  about,  and  being  routed  at 
the  first  onset,  yielded  the  victory  to  the  oppo- 
site side.  Then  Sodom  was  plundered  and 
made  a  spoil  of  by  the  victorious  enemy,  while 
Lot  Nvas  led  into  captivity,  ^^'hen  Abraham 
heard  of  this,  he  speedily  armed  his  servants,  to 
the  number  of  three  hundred  and  eighteen,  and, 
strijjping  of  their  spoils  and  arms  the  kings 
flushed  with  victory,  he  put  them  to  flight. 
Then  he  was  blessed  by  Melchisedech  the  priest, 
and  gave  him  tithes  of  the  spoil.  He  restored 
the  remainder  to  those  from  whom  it  had  been 
taken. 

CHAPTER  VI. 

At  the  same  time  God  spoke  to  Abraham, 
and  promised  that  his  seed  was  to  be  multiplied 
as  the  sand  of  the  sea ;  and  that  his  predicted 
seed  would  live  in  a  land  not  his  own,  while  his 
posterity  would  endure  slavery  in  a  hostile 
country  for  four  hundred  years,  but  would  after- 
wards be  restored  to  liberty.  Then  his  name 
was  changed,  as  well  as  that  of  his  wife,  by  the 
addition  of  one  letter  ;  so  that  instead  of  Abram  ' 
he  was  called  Abraham,  and,  instead  of  Sara, 
she  was  called  Sarra.  The  mystery  involved  in 
this  is  by  no  means  trifling,  but  it  is  not  the  part 
of  this  w^ork  to  treat  of  it.  At  the  same  time, 
the  law  of  circumcision  was  enjoined  on  Abra- 
ham, and  he  had  by  a  maid-servant  a  son  called 
Ishmael.  Moreover,  when  he  himself  was  a 
hundred  years  old,  and  his  wife  ninety,  God 
promised  that  they  should  have  a  son  Isaac,  the 
Lord  having  come  to  him  along  with  two  angels. 
Then  the  angels  being  sent  to  Sodom,  found  Lot 
sitting  in  the  gate  of  the  city.  He  supposed 
them  to  be  human  beings,  and  welcomed  them 
to  share  in  his  hospitality,  and  provided  an  en- 
tertainment for  them  in  his  house,  but  the  wicked 
youth  of  the  town  demanded  the  new  arrivals 
for  impure  purposes.  Lot  offered  them  his 
daughters  in  place  of  his  guests,  but  they  did 
not  accept  the  offer,  having  a  desire  rather  for 
things  forbidden,  and  then  Lot  himself  was  laid 
hold  of  with  vile  designs.  The  angels,  however, 
speedily  rescued  him  from  danger,  by  causing 
blindness  to  fi,\ll  upon  the  eyes  of  these  unchaste 
sinners.  Then  Lot,  being  informed  by  his  guests 
that  the  town  was  to  be  destroyed,  w-ent  away 
from  it  with  his  wife  and  daughters  ;  but  they 
were  commanded  not  to  look  back  upon  it. 
His  wife,  however,  not  obeying  this  precept  (in 
accordance  with  that  evil  tendency  of  human 
nature  which  renders  it  difficult  to  abstain  from 

1  In  the  Greek  of  the  LXX.  the  name  appears  as  Abraant,  so 
that,  as  our  author  says,  there  is  only  a  change  of  one  letter. 


things  forbidden),  turned  back  her  eyes,  and  is 
said  to  have  been  at  once  chanszed  into  a  monu- 
ment.  As  for  Sodom,  it  was  burned  to  ashes 
by  fire  from  heaven.  And  the  daughters  of 
Lot,  imagining  that  the  whole  human  race  had 
perished,  sought  a  union  with  their  father  while 
he  was  intoxicated,  and  hence  sprung  the  race 
of  Moab  and  Ammon. 


CHAPTER   VII. 

Almost  at  the  same  time,  when  Abraham  was 
now  a  hundred  years  old,  his  son  Isaac  was  born. 
Then  Sara  expelled  the  maid-servant  by  whom 
Abraham  had  had  a  son ;  and  she  is  said  to 
have  dwelt  in  the  desert  along  with  her  son,  and 
defended  by  the  help  of  God.  Not  long  after 
this,  God  tried  the  faith  of  Abraham,  and  required 
that  his  son  Isaac  should  be  sacrificed  to  him 
by  his  father.  Abraham  did  not  hesitate  to 
offer  him,  and  had  already  laid  the  lad  upon 
the  altar,  and  was  drawing  the  sword  to  slay 
him,  when  a  voice  came  from  heaven  command- 
ing him  to  spare  the  young  man  ;  and  a  ram 
was  found  at  hand  to  be  for  a  victim.  When 
the  sacrifice  was  offered,  God  spoke  to  Abraham, 
and  promised  him  those  things  which  he  had 
already  said  he  would  bestow.  But  Sara  died 
in  her  one  hundred  and  twenty-seventh  year, 
and  her  body  was,  through  the  care  of  her  hus- 
band, buried  in  Hebron,  a  town  of  the  Canaanites, 
for  Abraham  was  staying  in  that  place.  Then 
Abraham,  seeing  that  his  son  Isaac  was  now  of 
youthful  ^  age,  for  he  was,  in  fact,  in  his  fortieth 
year,  enjoined  his  servant  to  seek  a  wife  for 
him,  but  only  from  that  tribe  and  territory  from 
which  he  hims,elf  was  known  to  be  descended. 
He  was  instructed,  however,  on  finding  the  girl, 
to  bring  her  into  the  land  of  the  Canaanites,  and 
not  to  suppose  that  Isaac  would  return  into  the 
country  of  his  father  for  the  purpose  of  obtaining 
a  wife.  In  order  that  the  servant  might  carry 
out  those  instructions  zealously,  Abraham  ad- 
ministered an  oath  to  him,  while  his  hand  rested 
on  the  thigh  of  his  master.  The  servant  accord-  . 
ingly  set  out  for  Mesopotamia,  and  came  to  the 
town  of  Nachor,  the  brother  of  Abraham.  He 
entered  into  the  house  of  Bathuel,  the  Syrian, 
son  of  Nachor ;  and  having  seen  Rebecca,  a 
beautiful  virgin,  the  daughter  of  Nachor,  he 
asked  for  her,  and  brought  her  to  his  master. 
After  this,  Abraham  took  a  wife  named  Kethurah, 
who  is  called  in  the  Chronicles  his  concubine, 
and  begat  children  by  her.  But  he  left  his 
possessions  to  Isaac,  the  son  of  Sara,  while,  at 
the  same  time,  he  distributed  gifts  to  those 
whom  he  had  begotten  by  his  concubines  ;  and 
thus  they  were  separated  from  Isaac.     Abraham 

1  "juvenilis  jetatis  ":   the  meaning  is  that  he  had  ceased  to  he  a 
mere  adolescens,  and  had  reached  she  flower  of  his  age. 


74 


THE   WRITINGS    OF    SULPITIUS    SEVERUS. 


died  after  a  life  of  a  hundred  and  seventy-five 
years  ;  and  his  body  was  laid  in  the  tomb  of 
Sara  his  wife. 


CHAPTER   VIII. 

Now,  Rebecca,  having  long  been  barren,  at 
length,   through  the  unceasing   prayers   of  her 
husband  to  the  Lord,  brought  forth  twins  about 
twenty  years  after  the    time    of  her   marriage. 
These  are  said   to  have   often  leaped  ^  in  the 
womb  of  their  mother ;  and  it  was  announced 
by  the  answer  of  the  Lord  on  this  subject,  that 
two  peoples  were  foretold  in  these  children,  and 
that  the  elder  would,  in  rank,  be  inferior  to  the 
younger.     Well,  the  first  that  was  born,  bristling 
over  with  hair,  was  called  Esau,  while  Jacob  was 
the  name  given  to  the  younger.     At  that  time,  a 
grievous  famine   had   taken  place.     Under  the 
pressure  of  this  necessity,  Isaac  went  to  Gerar, 
to  King  Abimelech,  having  been  warned  by  the 
Lord  not  to  go  down  into  Egypt.     There  he  is 
promised  the  possession  of  the  whole  land,  and 
is   blessed,  and  having  been  greatly  increased 
in  cattle  and  every  kind  of  substance,  he  is, 
under  the  influence  of  envy,  driven  out  by  the 
inhabitants.     Thus  expelled  from  that  region,  he 
sojourned  by  the  well,  known  as  "  the  well  -  of 
the  oath."    By  and  by,  being  advanced  in  years, 
and  his  eyesight  being  gone,  as  he  made  ready 
to  bless  his  son  Esau,  Jacob  through  the  coun- 
sel of  his  mother,  Rebecca,  presented  himself 
to  be  blessed  in  the  place  of  his  brother.     Thus 
Jacob  is  set  before  his  brother  as  the  one  to  be 
honored  by  the  princes  and  the  peoples.     Esau, 
enraged  by  these  occurrences,  plqtted  the  death 
of  his  brother.     Jacob,  owing  to  the  fear  thus 
excited,  and  by  the  advice  of  his  mother,  fled 
into   Mesopotamia,   having  been  urged    by   his 
father  to  take  a  wife  of  the  house  of  Laban, 
Rebecca's   brother :    so   great   was    their    care, 
while  they  dwelt  in  a  strange  country,  that  their 
children  should  marry  within  their  own  kindred. 
Thus  Jacob,  setting  out  for  Mesopotamia,  is  said 
in  sleep  to  have  had  a  vision  of  the  Lord  ;  and 
on  that  account  regarding  the  place  of  his  dream 
as   sacred,  he   took  a  stone  from  it ;   and  he 
vowed  that,  if  he  returned  in  prosperity,  the 
name  ^  of  the  pillar  should  be  the  "  house  of  the 
Lord,"  and  that  he  would  devote  to  God  the 
tithes   of  all   the   possessions   he    had   gained. 
Then  he  betook  himself  to  Laban,  his  mother's 
brother,   and    was    kindly   received    by   him    to 
share  in  his  hospitality  as  the  acknowledged  son 
of  his  sister. 

1  So  in  LXX. 

2  This  is  the  meaning  of  the  Hebrew  word,  Brershtba. 

3  "  Titulum  sibi  domus  Dei  futurum":  the  rendering  of  the 
Hebrew  original  is  here  obviously  faulty,  and  the  words,  as  they 
stand,  are  scarcely  intelligible. 


CHAPTER   IX. 

Laean  had  two  daughters,  Leah  and  Rachel ; 
but  Leah  had  tender  eyes,  while  Rachel  is  said 
to  have  been  beautiful.     Jacob,   captivated  by 
her  beauty,  burned  with  love  for  the  virgin,  and, 
asking  her  in  marriage   from  the    father,  gave 
himself  up  to  a  servitude  of  seven  years.     But 
when  the  time  was  fulfilled,  Leah  was  foisted 
upon    him,   and    he   was    subjected    to    another 
servitude  of  seven  years,  after  which  Rachel  was 
given  him.     But  we  are  told  that  she  was  long 
barren,  while  Leah  was   fruitful.     Of  the  sons 
whom  Jacob  had  by  Leah,  the  following  are  the 
names  :  Reuben,  Symeon,  Levi,  Judah,  Issachar, 
Zebulon,  and  a  daughter   Dinah ;    while  there 
wTre  born   to   him   by  the  handmaid  of  Leah, 
Gad  and  Asher,  and  by  the  handmaid  of  Rachel, 
Dan  and  Naphtali.     But  Rachel,  after  she  had 
despaired    of    offspring,   bare    Joseph.      Then 
Jacob,  being  desirous  of  returning  to  his  father, 
when  Laban  his  father-in-law  had  given  him  a 
portion  of  the  flock  as  a  reward  for  his  service,  and 
Jacob  the  son-in-law,  thinking  him  not  to  be  act- 
ing justly  in  that  matter,  while  he  [also]  suspected 
deceit  on  his  part,  privately  departed  about  the 
thirtieth  year  after  his  arrival.     Rachel,  without 
the  knowledge  of  her  husband,  stole  the  idols '  of 
her  father,  and  on  account  of  this  injury  Laban 
followed  his  son-in-law,  but  not  finding  his  idols, 
returned,  after  being  reconciled,  having  straitly 
charged  his  son-in-law  not  to  take  other  wives 
in  addition  to  his  daughters.     Then  Jacob,  going 
on  his  way,  is  said  to  have  had  a  vision  of  angels 
and  of  the    army-  of  the    Lord.     But,  as   he 
directed  his  journey  past  the  region  of  Edom, 
which    his   brother   Esau    inhabited,   suspecting 
the  temper  of  Esau,  he  first  sent  messengers  and 
gifts  to   try  him.     Then  he   went  to   meet  his 
brother,  but  Jacob  took  care  not  to  trust  him 
beyond  what  he  could  help.     On  the  day  before 
the  brothers  were  to  meet,  God,  taking  a  human 
form,  is  said  to  have  wrestled  witli  Jacob.     And 
when  he  had  prevailed  with  God,  still  he  was 
not   ignorant   that   his   adversary  was  no    mere 
mortal ;  and  therefore  begged  to  be  blessed  by 
him.     Then  his  name  was  changed  by  God,  so 
that   from   Jacob   he    was    called    Israel.       But 
when  he,  in  turn,  inquired  of  God  the  name  of 
God,  he  was  tokl  that  that  should  not  be  asked 
after  because  it  was  wonderful.^     Moreover,  from 
that  wrestling,  the   breadth^  of  Jacob's    thigh 
shrank. 


1  elSwAa  is  the  Septiiagint  rendering  of  the  Hebrew  Tt-raphim. 
Perhaps  the  original  word  should  simply  be  translilcrated  into 
English  as  has  been  done  in  the  Revised  Version. 

-  The  rendering  of  the  LXX. 

3  "  Admirabile." 

■•  "Latitudo":  Vorstius  says  this  refers  to  the  broad  bone,  or 
broad  nerve  of  the  thigh. 


THE    SACRED  HISTORY    OF    SULPITIUS    SEVERUS. 


75 


CHAPTER   X. 

ISR.A.EL,  therefore,  avoiding  the  house  of  his 
brother,  sent  forward  his  company  to  Salem,  a 
town  of  the  Shechemites,  and  there  he  i)itched 
his  tent  on  a  spot  which  he  had  purchased. 
Emor,  a  Chorraean  prince,  was  the  ruler  of  that 
town.  His  son  Sychem  defiled  Dinah,  the 
daughter  of  Jacob  by  Leah.  Symeon  and  Levi, 
the  brothers  of  Dinah,  discovering  this,  cut  off 
by  a  stratagem  all  those  of  the  male  sex  in  the 
town,  and  thus  terribly  avenged  the  injury  done 
to  their  sister.  The  town  was  plundered  by  the 
sons  of  Jacob,  and  all  the  spoil  carried  off. 
Jacob  is  said  to  have  been  much  displeased  with 
these  proceedings.  Soon  after  being  instructed 
by  God,  he  went  to  Bethel,  and  there  erected 
an  altar  to  God.  Then  he  fixed  his  tent  in  a 
part  of  the  territory  belonging  to  the  tower  ^ 
Gader.  Rachel  died  in  childbirth :  the  boy 
she  bore  was  called  Benjamin.  Israel  died  at 
the  age  of  one  hundred  and  eighty  years.  Now, 
Esau  was  mighty  in  wealth,  and  had  taken  to 
himself  wives  of  the  nation  of  the  Canaanites. 
I  do  not  think  that,  in  a  work  so  concise  as  the 
present,  I  am  called  upon  to  mention  his  de- 
scendants, and,  if  any  one  is  curious  on  the 
subject,  he  may  turn  to  the  original.  After  the 
death  of  his  father,  Jacob  stayed  on  in  the  place 
where  Isaac  had  lived.  His  other  sons  occa- 
sionally left  him  along  with  the  flocks,  for  the 
sake  of  pasturage,  but  Joseph  and  the  little 
Benjamin  remained  at  home.  Joseph  was  much 
beloved  by  his  father,  and  on  that  account  was 
hated  by  his  brethren.  There  was  this  further 
cause  for  their  aversion,  that  by  frequent  dreams 
of  his  it  seemed  to  be  indicated  that  he  would 
be  greater  than  all  of  them.  Accordingly, 
having  been  sent  by  his  father  to  inspect  the 
flocks  and  pay  a  visit  to  his  brothers,  there 
seemed  to  them  a  fitting  opportunity  for  doing 
him  harm.  For,  on  seeing  their  brother,  they 
took  counsel  to  slay  him.  But  Reuben,  whose 
mind  shuddered  at  the  contemplation  of  such  a 
crime,  opposing  their  plan,  Joseph  was  let  down 
into  a  well.^  Afterwards,  by  the  persuasion*  of 
Judah,  they  were  brought  to  milder  measures, 
and  sold  him  to  merchants,  who  were  on  their 
way  to  Egypt.  And  by  them  he  was  delivered 
to  Petifra,  a  governor  of  Pharaoh. 

CHAPTER   XL 

About  this  same  time,  Judah,  the  son  of  Ja- 
cob, took  in  marriage  Sava,^  a  woman  of  Canaan. 
By  her  he  had  three  sons,  —  Her,  Onan,  and 

1  "In  parte  turris  Gadir":  this  is  a  strange  rendering  of  the 
Hebrew.  The  LXX  has  "beyond  the  tower  Gader";  while  the 
Revised  English  Version  has  "  beyond  the  tower  of  Eder." 

^  "  Lacum." 

»  Called  Shuah  in  A.  V. 


Sela.  Her  was  allied  by  concubinage  ^  to 
Thamar.  On  his  death,  Onan  took  his  brother's 
wife  ;  and  he  is  related  to  have  been  destroyed 
by  God,  because  he  spilled  his  seed  upon  the 
earth.  Then  Thamar,  assuming  the  garb  of  a 
harlot,  united  with  her  brother-in-law,  and  bore 
him  two  sons.  But  when  she  brought  them 
forth,  there  was  this  remarkable  fact,  that,  when 
on  one  of  the  boys  being  born,  the  midwife  had 
bound  his  hand  with  a  scarlet  thread  to  indicate 
which  of  them  was  born  first,  he,  drawing  bark 
again  into  the  womb  of  his  mother,  was  born  •' 
the  last  boy  of  the  two.  The  names  of  Fares 
and  Zarah  were  given  to  the  children.  But 
Joseph,  being  kindly  treated  by  the  royal  gov- 
ernor who  had  obtained  him  for  a  sum  of  money, 
and  having  been  made  manager  of  his  house 
and  family,  had  drawn  the  eyes  of  his  master's 
wife  upon  himself  through  his  remarkable  beauty. 
And  as  she  was  madly  laboring  under  that  base 
passion,  she  made  advances  to  him  oftener  than 
once,  and  when  he  would  not  yield  to  her  desires, 
she  disgraced  him  by  the  imputation  of  a  false 
crime,  and  complained  to  her  husband  that  he 
had  made  an  attempt  upon  her  virtue.  Accord- 
ingly, Joseph  was  thrown  into  prison.  There 
were  ia  the  same  place  of  confinement  two  of 
the  king's  servants,  who  made  known  their 
dreams  to  Joseph,  and  he,  interpreting  these  as 
bearing  upon  the  future,  declared  that  one  of 
them  would  be  put  to  death,  and  the  other  would 
be  pardoned.  And  so  it  came  to  pass.  Well, 
after  the  lapse  of  two  years,  the  king  also  had  a 
dream.  And  when  this  could  not  be  explained 
by  the  wise  men  among  the  Egyptians,  that 
servant  of  the  king  who  was  liberated  from 
prison  informs  the  king  that  Joseph  was  a  won- 
derful interpreter  of  dreams.  Accordingly, 
Joseph  was  brought  out  of  prison,  and  interpreted 
to  the  king  his  dream,  to  this  effect,  that,  for 
the  next  seven  years,  there  would  be  the  greatest 
fertility  in  the  land  ;  but  in  those  that  followed, 
famine.  The  king  being  alarmed  by  this  terror, 
and  seeing  that  there  was  a  divine  spirit  in 
Joseph,  set  him  over  the  department  of  food- 
supply,  and  made  him  equal  with  himself  in  the 
government.  Then  Joseph,  while  corn  was 
abundant  throughout  all  Egypt,  gathered  to- 
gether an  immense  quantity,  and,  by  increasing 
the  number  of  granaries,  took  measures  against 
the  future  famine.  At  that  time,  the  hope  and 
safety  of  Egypt  were  placed  in  him  alone.  About 
the  same  period,  Aseneh  bore  him  two  sons, 
Manasseh  and  Ephraim.  He  himself,  when  he 
received  the  chief  power  from  the  king,  was 
thirty  years  old  ;  for  he  was  sold  by  his  brothers 
when  he  was  seventeen  years  of  age. 

2  Or  perhaps,  ratlier,  marriage  of  a  sort,  as  appears  from  what 
follows. 

^  A  different  reading  gives,  "  was  born  on  the  following  day." 


76 


THE   WRITINGS    OF   SULPITIUS   SEVERUS. 


CHAPTER  XII. 

In  the  mean  time,  affairs  having  been  well 
settled  in  Egypt  to  meet  the  famine,  a  grievous 
want  of  corn  began  to  distress  the  world.  Jacob, 
constrained  by  this  necessity,  sent  his  sons  jnto 
Egypt,  keeping  only  Benjamin  with  himself  at 
home.  Joseph,  then,  being  at  the  head  of 
affairs,  and  having  complete  power  over  the 
corn-supplies,  his  brothers  come  to  him,  and 
pay  the  same  honor  to  him  as  to  a  king.  He, 
when  he  saw  them,'  craftily  concealed  his  recog- 
nition of  them,  and  accused  them  of  having 
come  as  enemies,  subtly  to  spy  out  the  land. 
But  he  was  annoyed  that  he  did  not  see  among 
them  his  brother  Benjamin.  Matters,  then,  are 
brought  to  this  point,  that  they  promised  he 
should  be  present,  specially  that  he  might  be 
asked  whether  they  had  entered  Egypt  for  the 
purpose  of  spying  out  the  land.  In  order  to 
secure  the  fulfillment  of  this  promise,  Symeon 
was  retained  as  hostage,  while  to  them  corn  was 
given  freely.  Accordingly,  they  returned,  bring- 
ing Benjamin  with  them  as  had  been  arranged. 
Then  Joseph  made  himself  known  to  his  brothers, 
to  the  shame  of  these  evil-deservers.  Thus,  he 
sent  them  home  again,  laden  with  corn,  and 
presented  with  many  gifts,  forewarning  them 
that  there  were  still  five  years  of  famine  to  come, 
and  advising  them  to  come  down  with  their 
father,  their  children,  and  their  whole  connec- 
tions to  Egypt.  So  Jacob  went  down  to  Egypt, 
to  the  great  joy  of  the  Egyptians  and  of  the 
king  himself,  while  he  was  tenderly  welcomed 
by  his  son.  That  took  place  in  the  hundred 
and  thirtieth  year  of  the  life  of  Jacob,  and  one 
thousand  three  hundred  and  sixty  years  ^  after 
the  deluge.  But  from  the  time  when  Abraham 
settled  in  the  land  of  the  Canaanites,  to  that 
when  Jacob  entered  Egypt,  there  are  to  be 
reckoned  two  hundred  and  fifteen  years.  After 
this,  Jacob,  in  the  seventeenth  year  of  his  resi- 
dence in  Egypt,  suffering  severely  from '  illness, 
entreated  Joseph  to  see  his  remains  placed  in 
the  toml).  Then  Joseph  presented  his  sons  to 
be  blessed ;  -  and  when  this  had  been  done,  but 
so  that  he  set  the  younger  before  the  elder  as  to 
the  value  of  the  blessing  given,  Jacob  then  blessed 
all  his  sons  in  order.  He  died  at  the  age  of 
one  hundred  and  forty-seven  years.  His  funeral 
was  of  a  most  imposing  character,  and  Joseph 
laid  his  remains  in  the  tomb  of  his  fathers.  He 
continued  to  treat  his  brothers  with  kindness, 
although,  after  the  death  of  their  father,  they 
felt  alarmed  from  a  consciousness  of  the  wrong 
they  had  done.  Joseph  himself  died  in  his  one 
hundred  and  tenth  year. 


1  The  chronology  of  the  LXX  is,  as  usual,  here  followed. 

^  The  original  is,  "  quibus  bencdictis,  cum  tamen  benedictionis 
merito  majori  minorem  prxposuisset,  filios  omnes  benedictione  lus- 
travit." 


CHAPTER   XIII. 

It  is  almost  incredible  to  relate  how  the  He- 
brews who  had  come  down  into  Egypt  so  soon 
increased  in  numbers,  and  filled  Egypt  with 
their  numerous  descendants.  But  on  the  death 
of  the  king,  who  kindly  cherished  them  on 
account  of  the  services  of  Joseph,  they  were 
kept  down  by  the  government  of  the  succeeding 
kings.  For  both  the  heavy  labor  of  building 
cities  was  laid  upon  them,  and  because  their 
abounding  numbers  were  now  feared,  lest  some 
day  they  should  secure  their  independence  by 
arms,  they  were  compelled  by  a  royal  edict  to 
drown  their  newly-born  male  children.  And  no 
permission  was  granted  to  evade  this  cruel  order. 
Well,  at  that  time,  the  daughter  of  Pharaoh 
found  an  infant  in  the  river,  and  caused  it  to  be 
brought  up  as  her  own  son,  giving  the  boy  the 
name  of  Moses.  This  Moses,  when  he  had  come 
to  manhood,  saw  a  Hebrew  being  assaulted  by 
an  Egyptian ;  and,  filled  with-  sorrow  at  the 
sight,  he  delivered  his  brother  from  injury,  and 
killed  the  Egyptian  with  a  stone.  Soon  after, 
fearing  punishment  on  account  of  what  he  had 
done,  he  fled  into  the  land  of  Midian,  and, 
taking  up  his  abode  with  Jothor  the  priest  of 
that  district,  he  received  his  daughter  Sepphora 
in  marriage,  who  bore  him  two  sons,  Gersam 
and  Eliezer.  At  this  epoch  lived  Job,  who  had 
acquired  both  the  knowledge  of  God  and  all 
righteousness  simply  from  the  law  ^  of  nature. 
He  was  exceedingly  rich,  and  on  that  account 
all  the  more  illustrious,  because  he  was  neither 
corrupted  by  that  wealth  while  it  remained  entire, 
nor  perverted  by  it  when  it  was  lost.  For, 
when,  through  the  agency  of  the  devil,  he  was 
stripped  of  his  goods,  deprived  of  his  children, 
and  finally  covered  in  his  own  person  with  ter- 
rible boils,  he  could  not  be  broken  down,  so  as, 
from  impatience  of  his  sufferings,  in  any  way,  to 
commit  sin.  At  length  he  obtained  the  reward 
of  the  divine  approval,  and  being  restored  to 
health,  he  got  back  doubled  all  that  he  had  lost. 


CHAPTER   XIV. 

But  the  Hebrews,  oppressed  by  the  multiplied 
evils  of  slavery,  directed  their  complaints  to 
heaven,  and  cherished  the  hope  of  assistance 
from  God.  Then,  as  Moses  was  feeding  his 
sheep,  suddenly  a  bush  appeared  to  liim  burning, 
l)ut,  what  was  surprising,  the  flames  did  it  no 
harm.  Astonished  at  such  an  extraordinary 
sight,  he  drew  nearer  to  the  bush,  and  immedi- 

1  This  somewhat  remarkable  statement  is  supported  by  the  text 
of  Halm,  who  reads,  "  lege  naturx."  But  other  editions  have 
"  legem  n.ltura;,"  and  the  meaning  will  then  be  "  who  had  learned 
the  law  of  nature,  and  the  knowledge  of  God,"  &c. 


THE    SACRED    HISTORY    OF    SULPITIUS    SEVERUS. 


11 


ately  (iod  spoke  to  him  in  words  to  this  effect, 
that  he  was  the  Lord  of  Abraham,  Isaac,  and 
Jacob,  and  that  he  desired  that  their  descendants, 
who  were  kept  down  under  the  tyranny  of  the 
Egyptians,  should  be  dehvered  from  their  suffer- 
ings, and  that  he,  therefore,  should  go  to  the 
king  of  Egypt,  and  present  himself  as  a  leader 
for  restoring  them  to  liberty.  When  he  hesitated, 
God  strengthened  him  with  power,  and  imparted 
to  him  the  gift  of  working  miracles.  Thus 
Moses,  going  into  Egypt,  after  he  had  first 
performed  miracles  in  the  presence  of  his  own 
people,  and  having  associated  his  brother  Aaron 
with  him,  went  to  the  king,  declaring  that  he  had 
been  sent  by  God,  and  that  he  now  told  him  in 
the  words  of  God  to  let  the  Hebrew  people  go. 
But  the  king,  affirming  that  he  did  not  know 
the  Lord,  refused  to  obey  the  command  ad- 
dressed to  him.  And  when  Moses,  in  proof  that 
the  orders  he  issued  were  from  God,  changed 
his  rod  into  a  serpent,^  and  soon  after  converted 
all  the  water  into  blood,  while  he  filled  the 
whole  land  with  frogs,  as  the  Chaldreans  were 
doing  similar  things,  the  king  declared  that  the 
wonders  performed  by  Moses  were  simply  due 
to  the  arts  of  magic,  and  not  to  the  power  of 
God,  until  the  land  was  covered  with  stinging 
insects  brought  over  it,  when  the  Chaldseans 
confessed  that  this  was  done  by  the  divine 
majesty.  Then  the  king,  constrained  by  his 
sufferings,  called  to  him  Moses  and  Aaron,  and 
gave  the  people  liberty  to  depart,  provided  that 
the  calamity  brought  upon  the  kingdom  were 
removed.  But,  after  the  suffering  was  put  an 
end  to,  his  mind,  having  no  control  over  itself, 
returned  to  its  former  state,  and  did  not  allow 
the  Israelites  to  depart,  as  had  been  agreed 
upon.  Finally,  however,  he  was  broken  down 
and  conquered  by  the  ten  plagues  which  were 
sent  upon  his  person  and  his  kingdom. 


CHAPTER   XV. 

But  on  the  day  ^  before  the  people  went  out 
of  Egypt,  being  as  yet  unacquainted  with  dates, 
they  were  instructed  by  the  command  of  God 
to  acknowledge  that  month  which  was  then 
passing  by  as  the  first  of  all  months ;  and  were 
told  that  the  sacrifice  of  the  day  was  to  be 
solemnly  and  regularly  offered  in  coming  ages, 
so  that,  on  the  fourteenth  day  of  the  month,  a 
lamb  without  blemish,  one  year  old,  should  be 
slain  as  a  victim,  and  that  the  door-posts  should 
be  sprinkled  with  its  blood ;  that  its  flesh  was 
wholly  to  be  eaten,  but  not  a  bone  of  it  was  to 
be  broken  ;  that  they  should  abstain  from  what 
was   leavened   for   seven   days,   using    only  un- 

1  "  Draconem." 

^  Such  is  Halm's  reading;  another  is  simply  "  before." 


leavened  bread ;  and  that  they  should  hand 
down  the  observance  to  their  posterity.  'I'hus 
the  people  went  forth  rich,  both  by  their  own 
wealth,  and  still  more  by  the  spoils  of  Egypt. 
Their  number  had  grown  from  those  seventy- 
five  ^  Hebrews,  who  had  first  gone  down  into 
Egypt,  to  six  hundred  thousand  men.  Now, 
there  had  elapsed  from  the  time  when  Abraham 
first  reached  the  land  of  the  Canaanites  a  period 
of  four  hundred  and  thirty  years,  but  from  the 
deluge  a  period  of  five  hundred  and  seventy- 
five^  years.  Well,  as  they  went  forth  in  haste, 
a  pillar  of  cloud  by  day,  and  a  pillar  of  fire  by 
night,  marched  before  thein.  But  since,  owing 
to  the  fact  that  the  gulf  of  the  Red  Sea  lay 
between,  the  way  led  by''  the  land  of  the  Phihs- 
tines,  in  order  that  an  opportunity  might  not 
afterwards  be  offered  to  the  Hebrews,  shrinking 
from  the  desert,  of  returning  into  Egyj^t  by  a 
well-known  road  through  a  continuous  land- 
journey,  by  the  command  of  God  they  turned 
aside,  and  journeyed  towards  the  Red  Sea, 
where  they  stopped  and  pitched  their  camp. 
When  it  was  announced  to  the  king  that  the 
Hebrew  people,  through  mistaking  the  road, 
had  come  to  have  the  sea  right  before  them, 
and  that  they  had  no  means  of  escape  since  the 
deep  would  prevent  them,  vexed  and  furious 
that  so  many  thousand  men  should  escape  from 
his  kingdom  and  power,  he  hastily  led  forth  his 
army.  And  already  the  arms,  and  standards, 
and  the  lines  drawn  up  in  the  widespreading  plains 
were  visible,  when,  as  the  Hebrews  were  in  a 
state  of  terror,  and  gazing  up  to  heaven,  Moses 
being  so  instructed  by  God,  struck  the  sea  with 
his  rod,  and  divided  it.  Thus  a  road  was 
opened  to  the  people  as  on  firm  land,  the  waters 
giving  way  on  both  sides.  Nor  did  the  king  of 
Egypt  hesitate  to  follow  the  Israelites  going 
forward,  for  he  entered  the  sea  where  it  had 
opened ;  and,  as  the  waters  speedily  came 
together  again,  he,  with  all  his  host,  was  de- 
stroyed. 


CHAPTER   XVI. 

Then  Moses,  exulting  in  the  safety  of  his  own 
people,  and  in  the  destruction  of  the  enemy,  by 
such  a  miracle,^  sang  a  song  of  praise  to  God, 
and  the  whole  multitude,  both  of  males  and 
females,  took  part  in  it.  But,  after  they  had 
entered  the  desert,  and  advanced  a  journey  of 
three  days,  want  of  water  distressed  them  ;  and, 
when   it   was    found,   it  proved  of  no   use    on 

-  The  Hebrew  text  has  "  seventy,"  but  our  author,  as  usual, 
follows  the  LXX. 

^  Again  after  the  LXX. 

*  The  text  here  is  uncertain  and  obscure. 

'  "  Virtute." 


78 


THE   WRITINGS    OF    SULPITIUS    SEVERUS. 


account  of  its  bitterness.  And  then  for  the  first 
time  the  stubbornness  of  the  impatient  people 
showed  itself,  and  burst  forth  against  Moses ; 
when,  as  instructed  by  God,  he  cast  some  wood 
into  the  waters,  and  its  power  was  such  that  it 
rendered  the  taste  of  the  fluid  sweet.  Thence 
advancing,  the  multitude  found  at  Elim  twelve 
fountains  of  waters,  with  seventy  palm-trees,  and 
there  they  encamped.  Again  the  people,  com- 
plaining of  famine,  heaped  reproaches  upon 
Moses,  and  longed  for  the  slavery  of  Egypt, 
accompanied  as  it  was  with  abundance  to  please 
their  appetite,  when  a  flock  of  quails  was  di- 
vinely sent,  and  filled  the  camp.  Besides,  on 
the  following  day,  those  who  had  gone  forth 
from  the  camp  perceived  that  the  ground  was 
covered  with  a  sort  of  pods,-  the  appearance  of 
which  was  like  a  coriander-seed  of  snowy  white- 
ness, as  we  often  see  the  earth  in  the  winter 
months  covered  with  the  hoar-frost  that  has 
been  spread  over  it.  Then  the  people  were 
informed,  through  Moses,  that  this  bread  had 
been  sent  them  by  the  gift -of  God;  that  every 
one  should  gather  in  vessels  prepared  for  the 
purpose  only  so  much  of  it  as  would  be  sufficient 
for  each,  according  to  their  number,  during  one 
day ;  but  that  on  the  sixth  day  they  should 
gather  double,  because  it  was  not  lawful  to 
collect  it  on  the  Sabbath.  The  people,  however, 
as  they  were  never  prone  to  obedience,  did  not, 
in  accordance  with  human  nature,  restrain  their 
desires,  providing  in  their  stores  not  merely  for 
one,  but  also  for  the  following  day.  But  that 
which  was  thus  laid  up  swarmed  with  worms, 
while  its  fetid  odor  was  dreadful,  yet  that  which 
was  laid  up  on  the  sixth  day  with  a  view  to  the 
Sabbath  remained  quite  untainted.  The  He- 
brews made  use  of  this  food  for  forty  years ;  its 
taste  was  very  like  that  of  honey ;  and  its  name 
is  handed  down  as  being  manna.  Moreover, 
as  an  abiding  witness  to  the  divine  gift,  Moses 
is  related  to  have  laid  up  a  full  gomer  of  it  in  a 
golden  vessel. 

CHAPTER   XV-II. 

The  people  going  on  from  thence,  and  being 
again  tried  with  want  of  water,  hardly  restrained 
themselves  from  destroying  their  leader.  Then 
Moses,  under  divine  orders,  striking  with  his 
rod  the  rock  at  the  place  which  is  called  Horeb, 
brought  forth  an  abundant  sup]')ly  of  water. 
But  when  they  came  to  Raphidin,  the  Amalekites 
destroyed  numbers  of  the  people  by  their 
attacks.  Moses,  leading  out  his  men  to  battle, 
placed  Joshua  at  the  head  of  the  army ;  and,  in 

2  This  is  a  somewhat  strange  description  of  the  manna.  Horniiis 
remarks  upon  it  that  there  may  be  a  reference  to  the  dew  in  \vhii:h 
the  Hebrews  believed  the  manna  to  have  been  enveloped,  but  that 
seems  a  far-fetched  explanation. 


company  with  Aaron  and  Hur,  was  himself  simply 
to  be  a  spectator  of  the  fight,  while,  at  the  same 
time,  for  the  purpose  of  praying  to  the  Lord,  he 
went  up  to  the  top  of  a  mountain.  But  when 
the  armies  had  met  with  doubtful  issue,  through 
the  prayers  of  Moses,  Joshua  slew  the  enemy 
until  nightfall.  At  the  same  time,  Jothor,  Moses' 
father-in-law,  with  his  daughter  Sepphora  (who, 
having  been  married  to  Moses,  had  remained  at 
home  when  her  husband  went  into  Egypt),  and 
his  children,  having  learned  the  things  which 
were  being  done  by  Moses,  came  to  him.  By 
his  advice  Moses  divided  the  people  into  various 
ranks ;  and,  setting  tribunes,  centurions,  and 
decurions  ^  over  them,  thus  furnished  a  mode  of 
discipline  and  order  to  posterity.  Jothor  then 
returned  to  his  own  country,  while  the  Israelites 
came  on  to  Mount  Sinai.  There  Moses  was 
admonished  by  the  Eord  that  the  people  should 
be  sanctified,  since  thev  were  to  hearken  to  the 
words  of  God  ;  and  that  was  carefully  seen  to. 
But  when  God  rested  on  the  mountain,  the  air 
was  shaken  with  the  loud  sounds  of  trumpets, 
and  thick  clouds  rolled  around  with  frequent 
flashes  of  lightning.  But  Moses  and  Aaron  were 
on  the  top  of  the  mountain  beside  the  Lord, 
while  the  ])eople  stood  around  the  bottom  of 
the  mountain.  Thus  a  law  was  given,  manifold 
and  full  of  the  words  of  God,  and  frequently 
repeated  ;  but  if  any  one  is  desirous  of  knowing 
particulars  regarding  it,  he  must  consult  the 
original,  as  we  here  only  briefly  touch  upon 
it.  "There  shall  not  be,"  said  God,  "any 
strange  gods  among  you,  but  ye  shall  worship 
me  alone  ;  thou  shalt  not  make  to  thee  any  idol ; 
thou  shalt  not  take  the  name  of  thy  God  in  vain  ; 
thou  shalt  do  no  work  upon  the  Sabbath  ;  honor 
thy  father  and  thy  mother  ;  thou  shalt  not  kill ; 
thou  shalt  not  commit  adultery ;  thou  shalt  not 
steal ;  thou  shalt  not  bear  false  witness  against 
thy  neighbor ;  thou  shalt  not  covet  anything 
belonging  to  thy  neighbor." 


CHAPTER   XVIII. 

Thesr  things  being  said  by  God,  while  the 
trumpets  uttered  their  voices,  the  lamps  blazed, 
and  smoke  covered  the  mountain,  the  people 
trembled  from  terror ;  and  begged  of  Moses 
that  God  should  speak  to  him  alone,  and  that 
he  would  report  to  the  people  what  he  thus 
heard.  Now,  the  commandments  of  God  to 
Moses  were  as  follows  :  A  Hebrew  servant  pur- 
chased with  money  shall  serve  six  years,  and 
after  that  he  shall  be  free  ;  but  his  ear  shall  be 
bored,  should  he  willingly  remain  in  slavery. 
Whosoever  slays  a  man  shall  be  put  to  death ; 

•  These  words  denote  what  is  expressed  in  the  Greek,  "  rulers  of 
thousands,  of  hundreds,  and  of  tens." 


THE   SACRED 


HISTORY 


OF    SULPITIUS    SEVERUS. 


79 


he  who  does  so  unwittingly  shall  in  due  form  be 
banished.     Whosoever  shall   beat  his   fother  or 
his  mother,  and  utter  evil  sayings  against  them, 
shall  suffer  death.     If  any  one  sell  a  Hebrew 
who  has  been  stolen,  he  shall  be  put  to  death. 
If  any  one  strike  his  own  man-servant  or  maid- 
servant, and  he  or  she  die  of  the  blow,  he  shall  be 
put  on  his  trial  for  doing  so.     If  any  one  cause  a 
woman  ^  to  miscarry,  he  shall  be  put  to  death.     If 
any  one  knock  out  the  eye  or  the  tooth  of  his 
servant,  that  servant  shall  receive  his  liberty  in  due 
form.    If  a  bull  kill  a  man,  it  shall  be  stoned  ;  and 
if  its  master,  knowing  the  vicious  temper  of  the 
animal,  did  not  take  precautions  in  connection 
with  it,  he  also  shall  be  stoned,  or  shall  redeem 
himself  by  a  price  as  large  as  the  accuser  shall 
demand.     If  a  bull  kill  a  servant,  money  to  the 
amount  of  thirty  double- drachmas  shall  be  paid 
to  his  master.     If  any  one  does  not  cover  up  a 
pit  which  has  been  dug,  and  an  animal  fall  into 
that  pit,  he  shall  pay  the  price  of  the  animal  to 
its  master.     If  a  bull  kill  the  bull  of  another 
man,   the    animal    shall    be    sold,  and   the   two 
masters  shall  share  the   price  ;   they  shall  also 
divide  the  animal  that  has  been  killed.     But  if 
a  master,  knowing  the  vicious   temper  of  the 
bull,  did  not   tike    precautions    in   connection 
with  it,  he  shall  give  up  the  bull.     If  any  one 
steals  a  calf,  he  shall  restore  five  ;  if  he  steals  a 
sheep,  the  penalty  shall  be  fourfold  ;  and  if  the 
animals  be  found  alive  in  the  hands  of  him  who 
drove   them   off,   he   shall   restore    double.     It 
shall  be  lawful  to  kill  a  thief  by  night,  but  not 
one  by  day.     If  the  cattle  of  any  one  has  eaten 
up  the  corn  of  another,  the  master  of  the  cattle 
shall   restore  what   has  been  destroyed.     If  a 
deposit  disappears,  he,  in  whose  hands  it  was 
deposited,   shall   swear  that   he    has   not   been 
guilty  of   any   deceit.     A  thief  who  is  caught 
shall  pay  double.     An  animal  given  in  trust,  if 
devoured  by  a  wild  beast,  shall  not  be   made 
good.     If  any  one  defile  a  virgin  not  yet  be- 
trothed,  he  shall   bestow  a  dowry  on  the  girl, 
and  thus  take  her  to  wife  ;  but,  if  the  father  of 
the  girl  shall  refuse  to  give  her  in  marriage,  then 
the  ravisher  shall  give  her  a  dowry.     If  any  one 
shall  join  himself  to  a  beast,  he  shall  be  put  to 
death.     Let  him  who  sacrifices  to  idols  perish. 
The  widow  and  orphan  are  not  to  be  oppressed  ; 
the  poor  debtor  is  not  to  be  hardly  treated,  nor 
is  usury  to  be  demanded  :   the  garment  of  the 
poor  is  not  to  be  taken  as  a  pledge.     A  ruler  of 
the  people  is  not  to  be  evil  spoken  of.     All  the 
first-born   are    to    be    offered   to   God.      Flesh 
taken   from   a  wild  beast  is  not  to  be  eaten. 
Agreements  to  bear  false  witness,  or  for  any  evil 
purpose,  are  not  to  be  made.     Thou  shalt  not 
pass  by  any  animal  of  thine  enemy  which  has 


strayed,  but  shalt  bring  it  back.  If  you  find  an 
animal  of  your  enemy  fallen  down  under  a 
burden,  it  will  be  your  duty  to  raise  it  up.  Thou 
shalt  not  slay  the  innocent  and  the  righteous. 
Thou  shalt  not  justify  the  wicked  for  rewards. 
Gifts  a,re  not  to  be  accepted.  A  stranger  is  to 
be  kindly  treated.  Work  is  to  be  done  on  six. 
days  :  rest  is  to  be  taken  on  the  Sabbath.  The 
crops  of  the  seventh  year  are  not  to  be  reaped, 
but  are  to  be  left  for  the  poor  and  needy. 


CHAPTER  XIX. 

Moses  reported  these  words  of  God  to  the 
people,  and  placed  an  altar  of  twelve  stones  at 
the  foot  of  the  mountain.     Then  he  again  as- 
cended the  mountain  on  which  the  Lord  had 
taken  his  place,  bringing  with  him  Aaron,  Nabad, 
and  seventy  of  the  elders.     But  these  were  not 
able  to  look  upon  the  Lord  ;  nevertheless,  they 
saw  the  place  ^  in  which  God  stood,  whose  form 
is  related  to  have  been  wonderful,  and  his  splen- 
dor glorious.     Now,  Moses,  having  been  called 
by  God,  entered  the   inner   cloud   which   had 
gathered  round  about  God,  and  is  related  to 
have  remained  there  forty  days  and  forty  nights. 
During   this  time,  he  was  taught  in  the  words 
of  God  about  building  the  tabernacle  and  the 
ark,  and  about  the  ritual  of  sacrifice  —  things 
which  I,  as  they  were  obviously  told  at  great 
length,    have    not    thought    proper    to    be   in- 
serted in  such  a  concise  work  as  the  present. 
But  as  Moses  stayed  away  a  long  time,  since  he 
spent  forty  days  in  the  presence  of  the  Lord, 
the  people,  despairing  of  his  return,  compelled 
Aaron  to  construct  images.     Then,  out  of  metals 
which  had  been   melted  together,   there  came 
forth  the  head  of  a  calf.     The  people,  unmindful 
of  God,   having  offered   sacrifices  to  this,   and 
given   themselves   up   to    eating  and  drinking, 
God,  looking  upon  these   things,  would  in  his 
righteous  indignation,  have  destroyed  the  wicked 
people,  had  he  not  been  entreated  by  Moses 
not  to  do  so.     But  Moses,  on  his  return,  bringing 
down  the  two  tables  of  stone  which  had  been 
written  by  the  hand  of  God,   and  seeing  the 
people  devoted  to  luxury  and  sacrilege,  broke 
the  tables,  thinking  the  nation  unworthy  of  having 
the   law  of  the   Lord  delivered  to  them.     He 
then  called  around  himself  the  Levites,  who  had 
been  assailed  with  many  insults,  and  commanded 
them  to  smite  the  people  with  drawn  swords. 
In  this  onset  twenty-three  thousand"  men  are 
said  to  have  been  slain.     Then  Moses  set  up 
the  tabernacle  outside  the  camp  ;  and,  as  often 


*  Some  words  seem  to  have  been  lost  here. 


1  The  Hebrew  text  is  here  different. 

2  Curiously  enough,  our  author  here  reads,  "  twenty-three  thou- 
sand," in  opposition  alike  to  the  Greek  and  Hebrew  text,  both  ot 

I  which  have  "  three  thousand." 


8o 


THE   WRITINGS    OF    SULPITIUS    SEVERUS. 


as  he  entered  it,  the  pillar  of  cloud  was  obser\^ed 
to  stand  before  the  door ;  and  God  spoke,  face 
to  face,  with  Moses.  But  when  xMoses  en- 
treated that  he  might  see  the  Lord  in  his  pe- 
culiar majesty,  he  was  answered  that  the  form 
of  God  could  not  be  seen  by  mortal  eye;^ ;  yet 
it  was  allowed  to  see  his  back  parts  ;  and  the 
tables  which  Moses  had  formerly  broken  were 
constructed  afresh.  And  Moses  is  reported, 
during  this  conference  with  God,  to  have  stayed 
forty  days  with  the  Lord.  Moreover,  when  he 
descended  from  the  mountain,  bringing  with 
him  the  tables,  his  face  shone  with  so  great 
brightness,  that  the  people  were  not  able  to  look 
upon  him.  It  was  arranged,  therefore,  that 
when  he  was  to  make  known  to  them  the  com- 
mands of  God,  he  covered  his  face  with  a  veil, 
and  thus  spoke  to  the  people  in  the  words  of 
God.  In  this  part  of  the  history  an  account  is 
given  ^  of  the  tabernacle,  and  the  building  of  its 
inner  parts.  Which  having  been  finished,  the 
cloud  descended  from  above,  and  so  over- 
shadowed the  tabernacle  that  it  prevented  Moses 
himself  from  entering.  These  are  the  principal 
matters  contained  in  the  two  books  of  Genesis 
and  Exodus. 


CHAPTER  XX. 

Then  follows  the  book  of  Leviticus,  in  which 
the  precepts  bearing  upon  sacrifice  are  set  forth  ; 
commandments  also  are  added  to  the  law 
formerly  given  ;  and  almost  the  whole  is  full  ■  of 
instructions  connected  with  the  priests.  If  any 
one  wishes  to  become  acquainted  with  these,  he 
will  obtain  fuller  information  from  that  source. 
For  we,  keeping  within  the  limits  of  the  work 
undertaken,  touch  upon  the  history  only.  The 
tribe  of  Levi,  then,  being  set  apart  for  the  priest- 
hood, the  rest  of  the  tribes  were  numbered,  and 
were  found  to  amount  to  six  hundred  and  three 
thousand  five  hundred  persons.^  When,  there- 
fore, the  people  made  use  of  the  manna  for 
food,  as  we  have  related  above,  even  amid  so 
many  and  so  great  kindnesses  of  God,  showing 
themselves,  as  ever,  ungrateful,  they  longed  after 
the  worthless  viands  to  which  they  had  been 
accustomed  in  Egypt.  Then  the  Lord  brought 
an  enormous  supply  of  (quails  into  the  camp ; 
and  as  they  were  eagerly  tearing  these  to  pieces, 
as  soon  as  their  lips  touched  the  flesh,  they 
perished.  There  was  indeed  on  that  day  a  great 
destruction  in  the  camp,  so  that  twenty  and 
three  thousand  men  are  said  to  have  died. 
Thus  the  people  were  punished  by  the  very  food 
which  they  desired.  Thence  the  comi)any  went 
forward,   and  came  to  Faran  ;  and  Moses  was 

3  Halm  here  reads  "  referetiir,"  but  "  refertur,"  another  reading, 
seem^  preferable. 

'  The  text  here  varies :  we  have  followed  Halm. 


instructed  by  the  Lord  that  the  land  was  now 
near,  the  possession  of  which  the  Lord  had 
promised  them.  Spies,  accordingly,  having  been 
sent  into  it,  they  report  that  it  was.  a  land  blessed 
with  all  abundance,  but  that  the  nations  were 
powerful,  and  the  towns  fortified  with  immense 
walls.  When  this  was  made  known  to  the  people, 
fear  seized  the  minds  of  all ;  and  to  such  a  pitch 
of  wickedness  did  they  come,  that,  despising 
the  authority  of  Moses,  they  prepared  to  appoint 
for  themselves  a  leader,  under  whose  guidance 
they  might  return  to  Egypt.  Then  Joshua  and 
Caleb,  who  had  been  of  the  number  of  the  spies, 
rent  their  garments  with  tears,  and  implored  the 
people  not  to  believe  the  spies  relating  such 
terrors  ;  for  that  they  themselves  had  been  Avith 
them,  and  had  found  nothing  dreadful  in  that 
country ;  and  that  it  behooved  them  to  trust 
the  promises  of  God,  that  these  enemies  would 
rather  become  their  prey  than  prove  their  de- 
struction. But  that  stiff-necked  race,  setting 
themselves  against  every  good  advice,  rushed 
upon  them  to  destroy  them.  And  the  Lord, 
angry  on  account  of  these  things,  exposed  a 
part  of  the  people  to  be  slain  by  the  enemy, 
while  the  spies  were  slain  for  having  excited 
fear  among  the  people. 


CHAPTER   XXL 

There  followed  the  revolt  of  those,  who,  with 
Dathan  and  Abiron  as  leaders,  endeavored  to 
set  themselves  up  against  Moses  and  Aaron ; 
but  the  earth,  opening,  swallowed  them  alive. 
And  not  long  after,  a  revolt  of  the  whole  people 
arose  against  Moses  and  Aaron,  so  that  they 
rushed  into  the  tabernacle,  which  it  was  not 
lawful  for  any  but  the  priests  to  enter.  Then 
truly  death  mowed  them  down  in  heap's  ;  and 
all  would  have  perished  in  a  moment,  had  not 
the  Lord,  appeased  by  the  prayers  of  Moses, 
turned  aside  the  disaster.  Nevertheless,  the 
number  of  those  slain  amounted  to  seven  hun- 
dred and  fourteen  thousand.^  And  not  long 
after,  as  had  already  often  hajjpened,  a  revolt 
of  the  people  arose  on  account  of  the  want  of 
water.  Then  Moses,  instructed  by  God  to  strike 
the  rock  with  his  rod,  with  a  kind  of  trial  now 
familiar  to  him,  since  he  had  already  done  that 
before,  struck  the  rock  once  and  again,  and 
thus  water  flowed  out  of  it.  In  regard,  however, 
to  this  ])oint,  Moses  is  said  to  have  been  reproved 
by  God,  that,  through  want  of  faith,  he  did  not 
bring  out  the  water  except  by  repeated  blows  ; 
in  fact,  on  account  of  this  transgression,  he  did 
not  enter  the  land  promised  to  him,  as  I  shall 
show  farther  on.  Moses,  then,  moving  away 
from  that  place,  as  he  was  preparing  to  lead  his 

1  "  septingenti  et  xiiii  milia." 


THE    SACRED    HISTORY    OF    SULPITIUS    SEVERUS. 


Si 


company  along  by  the  borders  of  Edora,  sent 
ambassadors  to  the  king  to  beg  liberty  to  pass 
by ;  for  he  thought  it  right  to  abstain  from  war 
on  account  of  the  connection  by  blood  ;  for  that 
nation  was  descended  from  Esau.  But  the 
king  despised  the  suppliants,  and  refused  them 
liberty  to  pass  by,  being  ready  to  contend  in 
arms.  Then  Moses  directed  his  march  towards 
the  mountain,  Or,  keeping  clear  of  the  forbid- 
den road,  that  he  might  not  furnish  any  cause 
of  war  between  those  related  by  blood,  and  on 
that  route  he  destroyed  the  king  of  the  nation  of 
the  Canaanites.  He  smote  also  Seon  the  king 
of  the  Amorites,  and  possessed  himself  of  all 
their  towns  :  he  conquered,  too,  Basan  and  Balac. 
He  pitched  his  camp  beyond  Jordan,  not  far 
from  Jericho.  Then  a  battle  took  place  against 
the  Midianites,  and  they  were  conquered  and 
subdued.  Moses  died,  after  he  had  ruled  the 
people  forty  years  in  the  wilderness.  But  the 
Hebrews  are  said  to  have  remained  in  the  wil- 
derness for  so  long  a  time,  with  this  view,  until 
all  those  who  had  not  believed  the  words  of 
God  perished.  For,  except  Joshua  and  Caleb, 
not  one  of  those  who  were  more  than  twenty 
years  old  on  leaving  Egypt  passed  over  Jordan. 
That  Moses  himself  only  saw  the  promised  land, 
and  did  not  reach  it,  is  ascribed  to  his  sin, 
because,  at  that  time  when  he  was  ordered  to 
strike  the  rock,  and  bring  forth  water,  he  doubted, 
even  after  so  many  proofs  of  his  miraculous 
power.  He  died  in  the  one  hundred  and 
twentieth  year  of  his  age.  Nothing  is  known 
concerning  the  place  of  his  burial. 


CHAPTER  XXn. 

Affer  the  death  of  Moses,  the  chief  power 
passed  into  the  hands  of  Joshua  the  son  of  Nun, 
for  Moses  had  appointed  him  his  successor, 
being  a  man  very  like  himself  in  the  good  qualities 
which  he  displayed.  Now,  at  the  commence- 
ment of  his  rule,  he  sent  messengers  through 
the  camp  to  instruct  the  people  to  make  ready 
supplies  of  corn,  and  announces  that  they  should 
march  on  the  third  day.  But  the  river  Jordan, 
a  very  powerful  stream,  hindered  their  crossing, 
because  they  did  not  have  a  supply  of  vessels 
for  the  occasion,  and  the  stream  could  not  be 
crossed  by  fords,  as  it  was  then  rushing  on  in 
full  flood.  He,  therefore,  orders  the  ark  to  be 
carried  forward  by  the  priests,  and  that  they 
should  take  their  stand  against  the  current  of 
the  river.  On  this  being  done,  Jordan  is  said 
to  have  been  divided,  and  thus  the  army  was 
led  over  on  dry  ground.  There  was  in  these 
places  a  town  called  Jericho,  fortified  with  very 
strong  walls,  and  not  easy  to  be  taken,  either  by 
storm   or   blockade.     But   Joshua,   putting   his 


trust  in  God,  did  not  attack  the  city  either  by 
arms  or  force  ;  he  simply  ordered  the  ark  of 
God  to  be  carried  round  the  walls,  while  the 
priests  walked  before  the  ark,  and  sounded 
trumpets.  But  when  the  ark  had  been  carried 
round  seven  times,  the  walls  and  the  towers  fell ; 
and  the  city  was  plundered  and  burnt.  Then 
Joshua  is  said  to  have  addressed  the  Lord,  and  ^ 
to  have  called  down  a  curse  upon  any  one  who 
should  attempt  to  restore  the  town  which  had 
thus  by  divine  help  been  demolished.  Next, 
the  army  was  led  against  Geth,  and  an  ambus- 
cade having  been  placed  behind  the  city,  Joshua, 
pretending  fear,  fied  before  the  enemy.  On 
seeing  this,  those  who  were  in  the  town,  opening 
the  gates,  began  to  press  upon  the  enemy  giving 
way.  Thus,  the  men  who  were  in  ambush  took 
the  city,  and  all  the  inhabitants  were  slain,  without 
one  escaping :  the  king  also  was  taken,  and 
suffered  capital  punishment. 


CHAPTER  XXin. 

When  this  became  known  to  the  kings  of  the 
neighboring  nations,  they  made  a  warlike  alliance 
to  put  down  the  Hebrews  by  arms.  But  the 
Gibeonites,  a  powerful  nation  with  a  wealthy 
city,  spontaneously  yielded  to  the  Hebrews, 
promising  to  do  what  they  were  ordered,  and 
were  received  under  protection,  while  they  were 
told  to  bring  in  wood  and  water.  But  their 
surrender  had  roused  the  resentment  of  the 
kings  of  the  nearest  cities.  Accordingly,  moving 
up  their  troops,  they  surround  with  a  blockade 
their  town,  which  was  called  Gabaoth.  The 
townspeople,  therefore,  in  their  distress,  send 
messengers  to  Joshua,  that  he  would  help  them 
in  their  state  of  siege.  Accordingly,  he  by  a 
forced  march  came  upon  the  enemy  at  unawares, 
and  many  thousands  of  them  were  completely 
destroyed.  When  day  failed  the  victors,  and  it 
seemed  that  night  would  furnish  protection  to 
the  vanquished,  the  Hebrew  general,  through  the 
power  of  his  faith,  kept  off  the  night,  and  the 
day  continued,  so  that  there  was  no  means  of 
escape  for  the  enemy.  Five  kings  who  were 
taken  suffered  death.  By  the  same  attack, 
neighboring  cities  also  were  brought  under  the 
power  of  Joshua,  and  their  kings  were  cut  off. 
But  as  it  was  not  my  design,  studious  as  I  am 
of  brevity,  to  follow  out  all  these  things  in  order, 
I  only  carefully  observe  this,  that  twenty-nine 
kingdoms  were  brought  under  the  yoke  of  the 
Hebrews,  and  that  their  territory  was  distributed 
among  eleven  tribes,  to  man  after  man.  For  to 
the  Levites,  who  had  been  set  apart  for  the 
priesthood,  no  portion  was  given,  in  order  that 

1  Some  words  have  here  been  lost,  but  are  conjecturally  supplied 
in  the  text. 


82 


THE    WRITINGS    OF    SULPITIUS    SEVERUS. 


they  might  the  more  freely  serve  God.  I  desire 
not,  in  silence,  to  pass  over  the  example  thus 
set,  but  I  would  earnestly  bring  it  forward  as 
well  worthy  of  being  read  by  the  ministers  of 
the  Church.  For  these  seem  to  me  not  only 
unmindful  of  this  precept,  but  even  utterly  igno- 
rant of  it  —  such  a  lust  for  possessing  has,  in 
this  age,  seized,  like  an  incurable  disease,  upon 
their  minds.  They  gape  upon  possessions  ;  they 
cultivate  estates  ;  they  repose  upon  gold  ;  they 
buy  and  sell ;  they  study  gain  by  every  possible 
means.  And  even,  if  any  of  them  seem  to  have 
a  better  aim  in  life,  neither  possessing  nor 
trading,  still  (what  is  much  more  disgraceful) 
remaining  inactive,  they  look  for  gifts,  and  have 
corrupted  the  whole  glory  of  life  by  their  mer- 
cenary dispositions,  while  they  present  an  ap- 
pearance of  sanctity,  as  if  even  that  might  be 
made  a  source  of  gain.  But  I  have  gone  farther 
than  I  intended  in  expressing  my  loathing  and 
disgust  over  the  character  of  our  times  ;  and  I 
hasten  to  return  to  the  subject  in  hand.  The 
vanquished  territory,  then,  as  I  have  already 
said,  having  been  divided  among  the  tribes,  the 
Hebrews  enjoyed  profound  peace ;  their  neigh- 
bors, being  terrified  by  war,  did  not  venture  to 
attempt  hostilities  against  those  distinguished  by 
so  many  victories.  At  the  same  period  died 
Joshua  in  the  hundred  and  tenth  year  of  his 
age.  I  do  not  express  any  definite  opinion  as 
to  the  length  of  time  he  ruled :  the  prevalent 
view,  however,  is,  that  he  was  at  the  head  of  the 
Hebrew  affairs  during  twenty-seven  years.  If 
this  were  so,  then  three  thousand  eight  hundred 
and  eighty-four  years  had  elapsed  from  the 
beginning  of  the  world  to  his  death. 


CHAPTER  XXIV. 

After  the  death  of  Joshua,  the  people  acted 
without  a  leader.  But  a  necessity  of  making 
war  with  the  Canaanites  having  arisen,  Judah 
was  appointed  as  general  in  the  war.  Under 
his  guidance,  matters  were  successfully  con- 
ducted :  there  was  the  greatest  tranquillity  both 
at  home  and  abroad  :  the  people  ruled  over  the 
nations  which  had  either  been  subdued  or  re- 
ceived under  terms  of  surrender.  Then,  as 
almost  always  happens  in  a  time  of  prosperity, 
becoming  unmindful  of  morals  and  discipline, 
they  began  to  contract  marriages  from  among 
the  conquered,  and  by  and  by  to  adopt  foreign 
customs,  yea,  even  in  a  sacrilegious  manner  to 
offer  sacrifice  to  idols :  so  pernicious  is  all 
alhance  with  foreigners.  God,  foreseeing  these 
things  long  before,  had,  by  a  wholesome  precept 
enjoined  upon  the  Hebrews  to  give  over  the 
conquered    nations   to   utter   destruction.     But 


the  people,  through  lust  for  power,  preferred 
(to  their  own  ruin)  to  rule  over  those  who  were 
conquered.  Accordingly,  when,  forsaking  God, 
they  worshiped  idols,  they  were  deprived  of 
the  divine  assistance,  and,  being  vanquished  and 
subdued  by  the  king  of  Mesopotamia,  they  paid 
the  penalty  of  eight  years'  captivity,  until,  with 
Gothoniel  as  their  leader,  they  were  restored  to 
liberty,  and  enjoyed  independence  for  fifty 
years.  Then  again,  corrupted  by  the  evil  effect 
of  a  lengthened  peace,  they  began  to  sacrifice 
to  idols.  And  speedily  d'd  retribution  fall  upon 
them  thus  sinning.  Conquered  by  Eglon,  king 
of  the  Moabites,  they  served  him  eighteen  years, 
until,  by  a  divine  impulse,  Aod  slew  the  enemies' 
king  by  a  stratagem,  and,  gathering  together  a 
hasty  army,  restored  them  to  liberty  by  force  of 
arms.  The  same  man  ruled  the  Hebrews  in 
peace  for  forty  years.  To  him  Semigar  suc- 
seeded,  and  he,  engaging  in  battle  with  the 
Philistines,^  secured  a  decisive  victory.  But 
again,  the  king  of  the  Canaanites,  Jabin  by 
name,  subdued  the  Hebrews  who  were  once 
more  serving  idols,  and  exercised  over  them  a 
grievous  tyranny  for  twenty  years,  until  Deborah, 
a  woman,  restored  them  to  their  former  condi- 
tion. They  had  to  such  a  degree  lost  confidence 
in  their  generals,  that  they  were  now  protected 
l:)y  means  of  a  woman.  But  it  is  worthy  of 
notice,  that  this  form  of  deliverance  was  arranged 
beforehand,  as  a  type  of  the  Church,  by  whose 
aid  captivity  to  the  devil  is  escaped.  The  He- 
brews were  forty  years  under  this  leader  or 
judge.  And  being  again  delivered  over  to  the 
Midianites  for  their  sins,  they  were  kept  under 
hard  rule  ;  and,  being  afflicted  by  the  evils  of 
slavery,  they  implored  the  divine  help.  Thus 
always  when  in  prosperity  they  were  unmindfiil 
of  the  kindnesses  of  heaven,  and  prayed  to  idols  ; 
but  in  adversity  they  cried  to  God.  Wherefore, 
as  often  as  I  reflect  that  those  people  who  lay 
under  so  many  obligations  to  the  goodness  of 
God,  being  chastised  with  so  many  disasters  when 
they  sinned,  and  experiencing  both  the  mercy 
and  the  severity  of  God,  yet  were  by  no  means 
rendered  better,  and  that,  though  they  always 
obtained  pardon  for  their  transgressions,  yet 
they  as  constantly  sinned  again  after  being  par- 
doned, it  can  appear  nothing  wonderful  that 
Christ  when  he  came  was  not  received  by  them, 
since  already,  from  the  beginning,  they  were 
found  so  often  rebelling  against  the  Lord.  It  is, 
in  fact,  far  more  wonderful  that  the  clemency  of 
God  never  fiiiled  them  when  they  sinned,  if  only 
they  called  upon  his  name.^ 


'  "  Allophylos  ":   lit.  strangers. 

=  Many  of  the  proper  names  occurring  in  this  and  other  chapters 
are  very  different  ni  form  from  those  with  which  we  are  familiar  in 
the  O.  T.  But  they  have  generally  been  given  as  they  stand  in  the 
text  of  o>ir  anthor,  and  they  can  easily  be  identified  by  any  readers 
who  think  it  worth  while  to  do  so. 


THE    SACRED    HISTORY    OF    SULPITIUS    SEVERUS. 


83 


•       CHAPTER    XXV. 

Accordingly,  when  the  Midianites,  as  we  have 
related  above,  ruled  over  them,  they  turned  to 
the  Lord,  imploring  his  wonted  tender  mercy, 
and  obtained  it.  There  was  then  among  the 
Hebrews  one  Gideon  by  name,  a  righteous  man, 
who  was  dear  and  acceptable  to  God.  The 
angel  stood  by  him  as  he  was  returning  home 
from  the  harvest-field,  and  said  unto  him,  "The 
Lord  is  with  thee,  thou  mighty  man  of  valor." 
But  he  in  a  humble  voice  complained  that  the 
Lord  was  not^  with  him,  because  captivity 
pressed  sore  upon  his  people,  and  he  remem- 
bered with  tears  the  miracles  wrought  by  the 
Lord,  who  had  brought  them  out  of  the  land  of 
Egypt.  Then  the  angel  said,  "  Go,  in  this  spirit 
in  which  you  have  spoken,  and  deliver  the  people 
from  captivity."  But  he  declared  that  he  could 
not,  with  his-  feeble  strength,  since  he  was  a 
man  of  very  small  importance,  undertake  such 
a  heavy  task.  The  angel,  however,  persisted  in 
urging  him  not  to  doubt  that  those  things  could 
be  done  which  the  Lord  said.  So  then,  having 
offered  sacrifice,  and  overthrown  the  altar  which 
the  Midianites  had  consecrated  to  the  image  of 
Baal,  he  went  to  his  own  people,  and  pitched 
his  camp  near  the  camp  of  the  enemy.  But  the 
nation  of  the  Amalekites  had  also  joined  them- 
selves to  the  ^lidianites,  while  Gideon  had  not 
gathered  more  than  an  army  of  thirty-two  thou- 
sand men.  But  before  the  battle  began,  God 
said  to  him  that  this  was  a  larger  number  than 
he  wished  him  to  lead  forth  to  the  conflict ; 
that,  if  he  did  make  use  of  so  many,  the  Hebrews 
would,  in  accordance  with  their  usual  wickedness, 
ascribe  the  result  of  the  fight,  not  to  God,  but  to 
their  own  bravery  ;  he  should  therefore  furnish  an 
opportunity  of  leaving  to  those  who  desired  to  do 
so.  When  this  was  made  known  to  the  people, 
twenty  and  two  thousand  left  the  camp.  But 
of  the  ten  thousand  who  had  remained,  Gideon, 
as  instructed  by  God,  did  not  retain  more  than 
three  hundred  :  the  rest  he  dismissed  from  the 
field.  Thus,  entering  the  camp  of  the  enemy 
in  the  middle  watch  of  the  night,  and  having 
ordered  all  his  men  to  sound  their  trumpets,  he 
caused  great  terror  to  the  enemy ;  and  no  one 
had  courage  to  resist ;  but  they  made  off  in  a 
disgraceful  flight  wherever  they  could.  The 
Hebrews,  however,  meeting  them  in  every  direc- 
tion, cut  the  fugitives  to  pieces.  Gideon  pur- 
sued the  kings  beyond  Jordan,  and  having  cap- 
tured them,  gave  them  over  to  death.  In  that 
battle,  a  hundred  and  twenty  thousand  of  the 
enemy  are  said  to  have  been  slain,  and  fifteen 
thousand    captured.     Then,    by  universal    con- 

'  "  Non  esse  in  se." 

-  "  Infracris  viribiis  ":   Vorstiiis  well  remarks  that  "  infractis  "  is 
here  used  with  the  sense  of  the  simple  "  fraciis." 


sent,  a  proposal  was  made  to  Gideon  that  he 
should  be  king  of  the  people.  But  he  rejected 
this  proposal,  and  preferred  rather  to  live  on 
equal  terms  with  his  fellow-citizens  than  to  be 
their  ruler.  Having,  therefore,  escaped  from 
their  captivity,  which  had  pressed  upon  the 
people  for  seven  years,  they  now  enjoyed  peace 
for  a  period  of  forty  years. 


CHAPTER   XXVI. 

But  on  the  death  of  Gideon,  his  son  Abime- 
lech,  whose  mother  was  a  concubine,  having 
slain  his  brothers  with  the  concurrence  of  a 
multitude  of  wicked  men,  and  especially  by  the 
help  of  the  chief  men  among  the  Shechemites, 
took  possession  of  the  kingdom.  And  he,  being 
harassed  by  civil  strife,  while  he  pressed  hard 
upon  his  people  by  war,  attempted  to  storm  a 
certain  tower,  into  which  they,  after  losing  the 
town,  had  betaken  themselves  by  flight.  But,  as 
he  approached  the  place  without  sufiicient  cau- 
tion, he  was  slain  by  a  stone  which  a  woman  threw, 
after  holding  the  government  for  three  years. 
To  him  succeeded  Thola,  who  reigned  two  and 
twenty  years.  After  him  came  Jair ;  and  after 
he  had  held  the  chief  place  for  a  like  period  of 
twenty-two  years,  the  people,  forsaking  God, 
gave  themselves  up  to  idols.  On  this  account, 
the  Israelites  were  subdued  by  the  PhiHstines 
and  Ammonites,  and  remained  under  their  power 
for  eighteen  years.  At  the  end  of  this  period, 
they  began  to  call  upon  God  ;  but  the  divine 
answer  to  them  was  that  they  should  rather  in- 
voke the  aid  of  their  images,  for  that  he  would 
no  longer  extend  his  mercy  to  those  who  had 
been  so  ungrateful.  But  they  with  tears  con- 
fessed their  fault,  and  implored  forgiveness ; 
while,  throwing  away  their  idols,  and  earnestly 
calling  upon  God,  they  obtained  the  divine  com- 
passion, though  it  had  been  at  first  refused. 
Accordingly,  under  Jephtha  as  general,  they 
assembled  in  great  numbers  for  the  purpose  of 
recovering  their  liberty  by  arms,  having  first 
sent  ambassadors  to  King  Ammon,  begging  that, 
content  with  his  own  territories,  he  should  keep 
from  warring  against  them.  But  he,  far  from 
declining  battle,  at  once  drew  up  his  army. 
Then  Jephtha,  before  the  signal  for  battle  was 
given,  is  said  to  have  vowed  that,  if  he  obtained 
the  victory,  the  person  who  first  met  him  as  he 
returned  home,  should  be  offered  to  God  as  a 
sacrifice.  Accordingly,  on  the  enemy  being 
defeated,  as  Jephtha  was  returning  home,  his 
daughter  met  him,  having  joyfully  gone  forth 
with  drums  and  dances  to  receive  her  father  as 
a  conqueror.  Then  Jephtha,  being  overwhelmed 
with  sorrow,  rent  his  clothes  in  his  affliction, 
and  made  known  to  his  daughter  the  stringent 


^  1 


THE    WRITINGS   OF    SULPITIUS    SEVERUS. 


obligation  of  his  vow.  But  she,  with  a  courage 
not  to  be  expected  from  a  woman,  did  not 
refuse  to  die ;  she  only  begged  that  her  life 
might  be  spared  for  two  months,  that  she  might 
before  dying  have  the  opportunity  of  seeing  the 
friends  of  her  own  age.  This  being  done,  she 
willingly  returned  to  her  flither,  and  fulfilled 
the  vow  to  God.  Jephtha  held  the  chief  power 
for  six  years.  To  him  Esebon  succeeded,  and 
having  ruled  in  tranquillity  for  seven  years,  then 
died.  After  him,  Elon  the  Zebulonite  ruled  for 
ten  years,  and  Abdon  also  for  eight  years ;  but, 
as  their  rule  was  peaceful,  they  performed  nothing 
which  history  might  record. 


CHAPTER   XXVII. 

The  Israelites  yet  again  turned  to  idols  ;  and, 
being  deprived  of  the  divine  protection,  were 
subdued  by  the  Philistines,  and  paid  the  penalty 
of  their  unfaithfulness  by  forty  years  of  captivity. 
At  that  time,  Samson  is  related  to  have  been 
born.  His  mother,  after  being  long  barren,  had 
a  vision  of  an  angel,  and  was  told  to  abstain 
from  wine,  and  strong  drink,  and  everything 
unclean ;  for  that  she  should  bear  a  son  who 
would  be  the  restorer  of  liberty  to  the  Israelites, 
and  their  avenger  upon  their  enemies.  He, 
with  unshorn  locks,  is  said  to  have  been  pos- 
sessed of  marvelous  strength,  so  much  so  that 
he  tore  to  pieces  with  his  hands  a  lion  which  met 
him  in  the  way.  He  had  a  wife  from  the  Philis- 
tines, and  when  she,  in  the  absence  of  her  hus- 
band, had  entered  into  marriage  with  another,  he, 
through  indignation  on  account  of  his  wife  being 
thus  taken  from  him,  wrought  destruction  to  her 
nation.  Trusting  in  God  and  his  own  strength, 
he  openly  brought  disaster  on  those  hitherto 
victors.  For,  catching  three  hundred  foxes,  he 
tied  burning  torches  to  their  tails,  and  sent  them 
into  the  fields  of  the  enemy.  It  so  happened 
that  at  the  time  the  harvest  was  ripe,  and  thus 
the  fire  easily  caught,  while  the  vines  and  olive- 
trees  were  burnt  to  ashes.  He  was  thus  seen 
to  have  avenged  the  injury  done  him  in  taking 
away  his  wife,  by  a  great  loss  inflicted  on  the 
Philistines.  And  they,  enraged  at  this  disaster, 
destroyed  by  fire  the  woman  who  had  been  the 
cause  of  so  great  a  calamity,  along  with  her 
house  and  her  father.  Put  Samson,  thinking 
himself  as  yet  but  poorly  avenged,  ceased  not 
to  harass  the  heathen  race  with  all  sorts  of  evil 
devices.  Then  the  Jews,  being  compelled  to  it, 
handed  him  over  as  a  prisoner  to  the  Philistines  ; 
but,  when  thus  handed  over,  he  burst  his  bonds, 
and  seizing  the  jaw-bone  ^  of  an  ass,  which  chance 
oflered  him  as  a  weapon,  he  slew  a  thousand  of 
his  enemies.     And,  as  the  heat  of  the  day  grew 

1  Simply  "  osse  asini "  in  text. 


violent,  and  he  began  to  suffer  from  thirst,  he 
called  upon  God,  and  water  flowed  forth  from  - 
the  bone  which  he  held  in  his  hand. 


CHAPTER   XXVIII. 

At  that  time  Samson  ruled  over  the  Hebrews, 
the  Philistines  having  been  subdued  by  the 
prowess  of  a  single  individual.  They,  therefore, 
sought  his  life  by  stratagem,  not  daring  to  assail 
him  openly,  and  with  this  view  they  bribe  his 
wife  (whom  he  had  received  after  what  has  been 
stated  took  place)  to  betray  to  them  wherein 
the  strength  of  her  husband  lay.  She  attacked 
him  with  female  blandishments ;  and,  after  he 
had  deceived*  her,  and  staved  off  her  purpose 
for  a  long  time,  she  persuaded  him  to  tell  that 
his  strength  was  situated  in  his  hair.  Presently 
she  cut  off  his  hair  stealthily  while  he  was  asleep, 
and  thus  delivered  him  up  to  the  Philistines ; 
for  although  he  had  often  before  been  given 
up  to  them,  they  had  not  been  able  to  hold  him 
fast.  Then  they,  having  put  out  his  eyes,  bound 
him  with  fetters,  and  cast  liim  into  prison. 
But,  in  course  of  time,  his  hair  which  had  been 
cut  off  began  to  grow  again,  and  his  strength  to 
return  with  it.  y\nd  now  Samson,  conscious  of 
his  recovered  strength,  was  only  waiting  for  an 
opportunity  of  righteous  revenge.  The  PhiUs- 
tines  had  a  custom  on  their  festival  days  of  pro- 
ducing Samson  as  if  to  make  a  public  spectacle 
of  him,  while  they  mocked  their  illustrious  cap- 
tive. Accordingly,  on  a  certain  day,  when  they 
were  making  a  feast  in  honor  of  their  idol,  they 
ordered  Samson  to  be  exhibited.  Now,  the 
temple,  in  which  all  the  peojile  and  all  the 
princes  of  the  Philistines  feasted,  rested  on  two 
pillars  of  remarkable  size ;  and  Samson,  when 
brought  out,  was  placed  between  these  pillars. 
Then  he,  having  first  called  upon  the  Lord, 
seized  his  opportunity,  and  threw  down  the 
pillars.  The  whole  multitude  was  overwhelmed 
in  the  ruins  of  the  building,  and  Samson  himself 
died  along  with  his  enemies,  not  without  having 
avenged  himself  upon  them,  after  he  had  ruled 
the  Hebrews  twenty  years.  To  him  Simmichar 
succeeded,  of  whom  Scripture  relates  nothing 
more  than  that  simple  fact.  For  I  do  not  find 
that  even  the  time  when  his  rule  came  to  an 
end  is  mentioned,  and  I  see  that  the  people 
was  for  some  time  without  a  leader.  Accordingly, 
when  civil  war  arose  against  the  tribe  of  Benja- 
min, Judah  was  chosen  as  a  temporary  leader 
in  the  war.  But  most  of  those  who  have  writ- 
ten about  these  times  note  that  his  rule  was 
only  for  a  single  year.     On  this  account,  many 

-  This  is  clearly  the  meaning,  and  Halm's  punctuation,  "  invo- 
cato  Deo  ex  osse,  quod  manu  tenebat,  aqua  fluxit,"  is  obviously 
wrong. 


THE    SACRED    HISTORY    OF    SULPITIUS    SEVERUS. 


85 


pass  him  by  altogether,  and  place  Eli,  the  priest, 
immediately  after  Samson.  We  shall  leave  that 
point  doubtful,  as  one  not  positively  ascertained. 


CHAPTER   XXIX. 

About  these  times,  civil  war,  as  we  have  said, 
had  broken  out ;  aixl  the  following  was  the 
cause  of  the  tumult.  A  certain  Levite  was  on  a 
journey  along  with  his  concubine,  and,  con- 
strained by  the  approach  of  night,  he  took  up 
his  abode  in  the  town  of  Gabaa,  which  was  in- 
habited by  men  of  Benjamin.  A  certain  old 
man  having  kindly  admitted  him  to  hospitality, 
the  young  men  of  the  town  surrounded  the 
guest,  with  the  view  of  subjecting  him  to  im- 
proper treatment.  After  being  much  chidden 
by  the  old  man,  and  with  difficulty  dissuaded 
from  their  purpose,  they  at  length  received  for 
their  wanton  sport  the  person  of  his  concubine  as 
a  substitute  for  his  own  ;  and  they  thus  spared 
the  stranger,  but  abused  her  through  the  whole 
night,  and  only  restored  her  on  the  following  day. 
But  she  (whether  from  the  injury  their  vile  con- 
duct had  inflicted  on  her,  or  from  shame,  I  do  not 
venture  to  assert)  died  on  again  seeing  ^  her  hus- 
band. Then  the  Levite,  in  testimony  of  the  hor- 
rible deed,  divided  her  members  into  twelve  parts, 
and  distributed  them  among  the  twelve  tribes, 
that  indignation  at  such  conduct  might  the  more 
readily  be  excited  in  them  all.  And  when  this 
became  known  to  all  of  them,  the  other  eleven 
tribes  entered  into  a  warlike  confederacy  against 
Benjamin.  In  this  war,  Judah,  as  we  have  said, 
was  the  general.  But  they  had  bad  success  in 
the  first  two  battles.  At  length,  however,  in  the 
third,  the  Benjamites  were  conquered,  and  cut 
off  to  a  man ;  thus  the  crime  of  a  few  was  pun- 
ished by  the  destruction  of  a  multitude.  These 
things  also  are  contained  in  the  Book  of  Judges  : 
the  Books  of  Kings  follow.  But  to  me  who  am 
following  the  succession  of  the  years,  and  the 
order  of  the  dates,  the  history  does  not  appear 
marked  by  strict  chronological  accuracy.  For, 
since  after  Samson  as  judge,  there  came  Semi- 
gar,  and  a  little  later  the  history  certifies  that 
the  people  lived  without  judges,  Eli  the  priest  is 
related  in  the  Books  of  Kings  to  have  also  been 
a  judge,"  but  the  Scripture  has  not  stated  how 
many  years  there  were  between  Eli  and  Samson. 
I  see  that  there  was  some  portion  of  time  be- 
tween these  two,  which  is  left  in  obscurity. 
But,  from  the  day  of  the  death  of  Joshua  up  to 
the  time  at  which  Samson  died,  there  are 
reckoned  four  hundred  and  eighteen  years,  and 
from  the  beginning  of  the  world,  four  thousand 

1  A  clear  mistake  of  memory  in  our  author.  The  whole  narra- 
tive is  confused. 

-  The  meaning  is  here  doubtful. 


three  hundred  and  three.  Nevertheless,  I  am 
not  ignorant  that  others  differ  from  this  reckon- 
ing of  ours  ;  but  I  am  at  the  same  time  conscious 
that  I  have,  not  without  some  care,  set  forth  the 
order  of  events  in  the  successive  years  (a  thing 
hitherto  left  in  obscurity),  until  I  have  fallen 
upon  these  times,  concerning  which  I  confess 
that  I  have  my  doubts.  Now  I  shall  go  on  to 
what  remains. 

CHAPTER   XXX. 

The  Hebrews,  then,  as  I  have  narrated  above, 
were  living  according  to  their  own  will,  without 
any  judge  or  general.  Eli  was  priest ;  and  in 
his  days  Samuel  was  born.  His  fother's  name 
was  Elchana,  and  his  mother's,  Anna.  She 
having  long  been  barren,  is  said,  when  she  asked 
a  child  from  God,  to  have  vowed  that,  if  it  were 
a  boy,  it  should  be  dedicated  to  God.  Accord- 
ingly, having  brought  forth  a  boy,  she  delivered 
him  to  Eli  the  priest.  By  and  by,  when  he  had 
grown  up,  God  spoke  to  him.  He  denounced 
wrath  against  Eli  the  priest  on  account  of  the 
life  of  his  sons,  who  had  made  the  priesthood 
of  their  father  a  means  of  gain  to  themselves, 
and  exacted  gifts  from  those  who  came  to 
sacrifice  ;  and,  although  their  father  is  related 
to  have  often  reproved  them,  yet  his  reproofs 
were  too  gentle  to  serve  the  purpose  of  discipline. 
Well,  the  Philistines  made  an  incursion  into 
Judaea,  and  were  met  by  the  Israelites.  But  the 
Hebrews,  being  beaten,  prepare  to  renew  the 
contest :  they  carry  the  ark  of  the  Lord  with 
them  into  battle,  and  the  sons  of  the  priests  go 
forth  with  it,  because  he  himself,  being  burdened 
with  years,  and  afflicted  with  blindness,  could 
not  discharge  that  duty.  But,  when  the  ark 
was  brought  within  sight  of  the  enemy,  terrified 
as  if  by  the  majesty  of  God's  presence,  they 
were  ready  to  take  to  flight.  But  again  recover- 
ing courage,  and  changing  their  minds  (not 
without  a  divine  impulse),  they  rush  into  battle 
with  their  whole  strength.  The  Hebrews  were 
conquered ;  the  ark  was  taken  ;  the  sons  of  the 
priest  fell.  Eh,  when  the  news  of  the  calamity 
was  brought  to  him,  being  overwhelmed  with 
grief,  breathed  his  last,  after  he  had  held  the 
priesthood  for  twenty  ^  years. 


CHAPTER   XXXI. 

The  Philistines,  victorious  in  this  prosperous 
battle,  brought  the  ark  of  God,  which  had  fallen 
into  their  hands,  into  the  temple  of  Dagon  in 
the  town  of  Azotus.  But  the  image,  dedicated 
to  a  demon,  fell  down  when  the  ark  was  brought 
in  there  ;  and,  on  their  setting  the  idol  up  again 

1  The  Hebrew  text  has  forty  years. 


86 


THE   WRITINGS    OF    SULPITIUS    SEVERUS. 


in  its  place,  in  the  following  night  it  was  torn  in 
pieces.  Then  mice,  springing  up  throughout  all 
the  country,  caused  by  their  venomous  bites  the 
death  of  many  thousand  persons.^  The  men  of 
Azotus,  constrained  by  this  source  of  suffering, 
in  order  to  escape  the  calamity,  removed  the  ark 
to  Gath.  But  the  people  there  being  afflicted 
with  the  same  evils,  conveyed  the  ark  to  Asca- 
lon.  The  inhabitants,  however,  of  that  place, 
the  chief  men  of  the  nation  having  been  called 
together,  formed  the  design  of  sending  back  the 
ark  to  the  Hebrews.  Thus,  in  accordance  with 
the  opinion  of  the  chiefs,  and  augurs,  and  priests, 
it  was  placed  upon  a  cart,  and  sent  back  with 
many  gifts.  This  remarkable  thing  then  hap- 
pened, that  when  they  had  yoked  heifers  to  the 
conveyance,  and  had  retained  their  calves  at 
home,  these  cattle  took  their  course,  without 
any  guide,  towards  Judsea,  and  showed  no  desire 
of  returning,  from  affection  toward  their  young 
left  behind.  The  rulers  of  the  Philistines,  who 
had  followed  the  ark  into  the  territory  of  the 
Hebrews,  were  so  struck  by  the  marvelousness 
of  this  occurrence  that  they  performed  a  relig- 
ious service.  But  the  Jews,  when  they  saw  the 
ark  brought  back,  vied  with  each  other  in  joy- 
ously rushing  forth  from  the  town  of  Betsamis  to 
meet  it,  and  in  hurrying,  exulting,  and  returning 
thanks  to  God.  Presently,  the  Levites,  whose 
business  it  was,  perform  a  sacrifice  to  God,  and 
offer  those  heifers  which  had  brought  the  ark. 
But  the  ark  could  not  be  kept  in  the  town  which 
I  have  named  above,  and  thus  severe  illness  fell, 
by  the  appointment  of  God,  upon  the  whole  city. 
The  ark  was  then  transferred  to  the  town  of 
Cariathiarim,-  and  there  it  remained  twenty 
years. 

CHAPTER   XXXII. 

At  this  time,  Samuel  the  priest  ^  ruled  over 
the  Hebrews  ;  and  there  being  a  cessation  of  all 
war,  the  people  lived  in  peace.  But  this  tran- 
quillity was  disturl:)ed  by  an  invasion  of  the  Phil- 
istines, and  all  ranks  were  in  a  state  of  terror 
from  their  consciousness  of  guilt.  Samuel, 
having  first  offered  sacrifice,  and  trusting  in  God, 
led  his  men  out  to  battle,  and  the  enemy  being 
routed  at  the  first  onset,  victory  declared  for  the 
Hebrews.  But  when  the  fear  of  the  enemy  was 
thus  removed,  and  affiiirs  were  now  prosperous 
and  peaceful,  the  people,  changing  their  views 
for  the  worse,  after  the  manner  of  the  mob,  who 
are  always  weary  of  what  they  have,  and  long 
for  things  of  which  they  have  had  no  experience, 
expressed  a  desire  for  the  kingly  name  —  a  name 

1  No  reference  to  this  occurs  in  the  Hebrew  text,  but  it  is  found 
in  the  Greek,  and  is  also  noticed  by  Josephus.  See  the  LXX. 
I  Sam.  V.  6,  and  Josephus,  Aniiq.  vi.  i. 

2  Called  Kirjath-jrari)u  in  the  English  version. 
^  Samuel  was  a  Levite,  but  not  a  priest 


greatly  disliked  by  almost  all  free  nations.  Yes, 
with  an  example  of  madness  certainly  very  re- 
markable, they  now  preferred  to  exchange  liberty 
for  slavery.  They,  therefore,  come  in  great 
numbers  to  Samuel,  in  order  that,  as  he  himself 
was  now  an  old  man,  he  might  make  for  them  a 
king.  But  he  endeavored  in  a  useful  address, 
quietly  to  deter  the  people  from  their  insane 
desire  ;  he  set  forth  the.  tyranny  and  haughty 
rule  of  kings,  while  he  extolled  liberty,  and  de- 
nounced slavery ;  finally,  he  threatened  them 
with  the  divine  wrath,  if  they  should  show  them- 
selves men  so  corrupt  in  mind  as  that,  when 
having  God  as  their  king,  they  should  demand 
for  themselves  a  king  from  among  men.  Hav- 
ing spoken  these  and  other  words  of  a  like  nature 
to  no  purpose,  finding  that  the  people  persisted 
in  the  determination,  he  consulted  God.  And 
God,  moved  by  the  madness  of  that  insane 
nation,  replied  that  nothing  was  to  be  refused  to 
them  asking  against  their  own  interests. 


CHAPTER  XXXIII. 

Accordingly,  Saul,  having  been  first  anointed 
by  Samuel  with  the  sacerdotal  oil,  was  appointed 
king.  He  was  of  the  tribe  of  Benjamin,  and  his 
father's  name  was  Kish.  He  was  modest  in 
mind,  and  of  a  singularly  handsome  figure,  so 
that  the  dignity  of  his  person  worthily  corre- 
sponded to  the  royal  dignity.  But  in  the  be- 
ginning of  his  reign,  some  portion  of  the  people 
had  revolted  from  him,  refusing  to  acknowledge 
his  authority,  and  had  joined  themselves  to 
the  Ammonites.  Saul,  however,  energetically 
wreaked  his  vengeance  on  these  people  ;  the 
enemy  were  conquered,  and  pardon  was  granted 
to  the  Hebrews.  Then  Saul  is  said  to  have 
been  anointed  by  Samuel  a  second  time.  Next, 
a  bloody  war  arose  by  an  invasion  of  the 
Philistines ;  and  Saul  had  appointed  Gilgal  as 
the  place  where  his  army  was  to  assemble. 
As  they  waited  there  seven  days  for  Samuel, 
that  he  might  offer  sacrifice  to  God,  the  people 
gradually  dropped  away  owing  to  his  delay,  and 
the  king,  with  unlawful  presumption,  presented 
a  burnt-offering,  thus  taking  upon  him  the  duty 
of  a  priest.  For  this  he  was  severely  rebuked 
by  Samuel,  and  acknowledged  his  sin  with  a 
penitence  that  was  too  late.  For,  as  a  result  of 
the  king's  sin,  fear  had  pervaded  the  whole 
army.  The  camp  of  the  enemy  lying  at  no 
great  distance  showed  them  how  actual  the 
danger  was,  antl  no  one  had  the  courage  to 
think  of  going  forth  to  battle  :  most  had  be- 
taken themselves  to  the  marshes.'  For  besides 
the  want  of  courage   on  the  part  of  those  who 

'  The  text  here  is  very  uncertain;  we  have  followed  the  rending 
of  Halm,  "  lamas,"  but  others  have  "  lacrimas  "  or  "  latebras." 


THE    SACRED    HISTORY    OF    SULPITIUS    SEVERUS. 


87 


felt    that    God   was    alienated     from     them    on 
account  of  the  king's  sin,  the  army  was  in  the 
greatest  want  of  iron  weapons  ;  so  much  so  that 
nobody,  except  Saul  and  Jonathan  his  son,  is 
said  to  have  possessed    either  sword  or  spear. 
Fpr  the  Philistines,  as  conquerors  in  the  former 
wars,  had  deprived  the  Hebrews  of  the  use  of 
arms,-  and  no  one  had  had  the  power  of  forging 
any  weapon  of  war,  or  even  making  any  imple- 
ment   for    rural    purposes.     In    these    circum- 
stances, Jonathan,  with  an  audacious  design,  and 
with  his    armor-bearer  as  his    only  companion, 
entered  the  camp   of  the    enemy,  and    having 
slain  about   twenty   of  them,    spread    a   terror 
throughout  the  whole  army.     And  then,  through 
the  appointment  of  God,  betaking  themselves  to 
flight,  they  neither  carried  out  orders  nor  kept 
their  ranks,  but  placed  all  the  hope  of  safety  in 
flight.     Saul,  perceiving  this,  hastily  drew  forth 
his  men,  and  pursuing  the  fugitives,  obtained  a 
victory.     The  king  is  said  on  that  day  to  have 
issued  a  proclamation  that  no  one  should  help 
himself  to  food  until  the  enemy  were  destroyed. 
But  Jonathan,  knowing  nothing  of  this  prohibi- 
tion, found   a   honey-comb,    and,    dipping    the 
point  of  his  weapon    in  it,  ate  up    the .  honey. 
When  that  became  known  to  the  king  through 
the  anger  of  God  which  followed,  he  ordered 
his  son  to  be  put  to  death.     But  by  the  help 
of  the  people,  he  was  saved  from   destruction. 
At  that  time,  Samuel,  being  instructed  by  God, 
went  to   the  king,  and  told  him  in  the  words 
of  God    to    make    war    on    the    nation    of   the 
Amalekites,  who  had  of  old  hindered  the  He- 
brews when  they  were   coming  out  of  Egypt ; 
and  the  prohibition  was  added  that  they  should 
not  covet  any  of  the  spoils  of  the  conquered. 
Accordingly,  an  army  was  led  into  the  territory 
of  the    enemy,    the   king  was   taken,    and   the 
nation   subdued.      But    Saul,    unable    to   resist 
the  magnitude  of  the  spoil,  and  unmindful  of  the 
divine   injunctions,    ordered    the   booty   to   be 
saved  and  gathered  together. 


CHAPTER   XXXIV. 

God,  displeased  with  what  had  been  done, 
spoke  to  Samuel,  saying  that  he  repented  that 
he  had  made  Saul  king.  The  priest  reports 
what  he  had  heard  to  the  king.  And  ere  long, 
being  instructed  by  God,  he  anointed  David 
with  the  royal  oil,  while  he  was  as  yet  only  a 
Httle  boy^  living  under  the  care  of  his  father, 
and  acting  as  a  shepherd,  while  he  was  accus- 
tomed often  to  play  upon  the  harp.  P'or  this 
reason,  he  was  taken  afterwards  by  Saul,  and 


-  "  Armorum"  is  here  supplied,  but  some  prefer  "  cotis,"  accord- 
ing to  I  Sam.  xiii.  20. 

'  This  is  a  mistake :  David  was  undoubtedly  then  a  grown-up 
young  man. 


reckoned  among  the  servants  of  the  king.     And 
the  Philistines  and  Hebrews  being  at  this  time 
hotly  engaged  in  war,  as  the  armies  were  sta- 
tioned opposite  to  each  other,  a  certain  man  of 
the  Philistines  named  Goliath,  a  man  of  marvel- 
ous size   and  strength,  passing  along  the  ranks 
of  his  countrymen,  cast  insults,  in  the  fiercest 
terms,  ui:ion  the  enemy,  and  challenged  any  one 
to  engage  in  single  combat  with  him.     Then  the 
king  promised  a  great  reward  and  his  daughter 
in  marriage  to  any  one  who  should  bring  home 
the  spoils  of  that  boaster ;  but  no  one  out  of  so 
great  a  multitude  ventured  to  make  the  attempt. 
In  these    circumstances,   though  still   a  youth,- 
David  offered  himself  for  the  contest,  and  reject- 
ing the  arms  by  which  his  yet  tender  age  was 
weighed  down,  simply  with  a  staff  and  five  stones 
which  he  had  taken,  advanced  to  the  battle.    And 
by  the  first  blow,  having  discharged  one  of  the 
s-:ones  from  a  sling,  he  overthrew  the  Philistine  ; 
then  he  cut  off  the  head  of  his  conquered  foe, 
carried  off  his  spoils,  and  afterwards  laid  up  his 
sword  in  the  temple.     In  the  meanwhile,  all  the 
Philistines,  turning  to  flight,  yielded  the  victory 
to  the   Hebrews.     But  the  great  favor  shown  to 
David  as  they  were  returning  from   the  battle 
excited   the  envy  of  the  king.     Fearing,  how- 
ever, that  if  he  put  to  death  one  so  beloved  by 
all,  that  might  give  rise  to  hatred  against  himself 
and    prove    disastrous,    he    resolved,    under  an 
appearance  of  doing  him  honor,  to  expose  him 
to  danger.     First  then  he  made  him  a  captain, 
that  he  might  be  charged  with  the  affairs  of  war  ; 
and    next,   although   he   had  promised   him  his 
daughter,  he  broke   his  word,  and  gave  her  to 
another.      Ere  long,  a  younger  daughter  of  the 
king,  Melchol    by  name,  fell    violently  in   love 
with     David.       Accordingly,    Saul    sets    before 
David  as  the  condition  of  obtaining  her  in  mar- 
riage the  following  proposal :  that  if  he  should 
bring  in  a  hundred  foreskins  of  the  enemy,  the 
royal  maiden  would  be  given  him  in  marriage ; 
for  he  hoped   that   the  youth,  venturing   on  so 
great  dangers,  would  probably  perish.     But  the 
result  proved  very  different  from  what  he  im- 
agined,   for   David,  according   to  the  proposal 
made  to   him,  speedily  brought  in  a  hundred 
foreskins  of  the  Philistines  ;    and  thus  he   ob- 
tained the  daughter  of  the  king  in  marriage. 


CHAPTER   XXXV. 

The  hatred  of  the  king  towards  him  increased 
daily,  under  the  influence  of  jealousy,  for  the 
wicked  always  persecute  the  good.  He,  there- 
fore, commanded  his  servants  and  Jonathan  his 
son,  to  prepare  snares  against  his  life.  But 
Jonathan  had   even  from  the  first  had  a  great 

2  "Puer";  another  mistake. 


88 


THE   WRITINGS    OF    SULPITIUS    SEVERUS. 


regard  and  affection  for  David  ;   and  therefore 
the  king,  being  taken  to  task  by  his  son,  sup- 
pressed the  cruel  order  he  had  given.     But  the 
wicked  are  not  long  good.     For,  when  Saul  was 
afflicted  by  a  spirit  of  error,  and  David  stood  by 
him,    soothing    him    with    the    harp    under   his 
trouble,  Saul  tried  to  pierce  him  with  a  spear, 
and  would  have  done  so,  had  not  he   rapidly 
evaded  the  deadly  blow.     From  this  time  forth, 
the  king  no  longer  secretly  but  openly  sought  to 
compass  his  death ;  and  David  no  longer  trusted 
himself  in  his  power.     He  fled,  and  first  betook 
himself  to  Samuel,  then  to  Abimelech,  and  finally 
fled  to  the  king    of   Moab.     By-and-by,  under 
the  instructions  of  the  prophet  Gad,  he  returned 
into  the  land  of  Judah,  and  there  ran  in  danger 
of  his  life.     At  that  time,  Saul  slew  Abimelech 
the  priest  because  he  had  received  David  ;  and 
when  none  of  the  king's  servants  ventured  to  lay 
hands  upon  the  priest,  Doeg,  the  Syrian,  fulfilled 
the  cruel  duty.     After  that,  David  made  for  the 
desert.     Thither  Saul  also  followed'  him,  but  his 
efforts  at  his  destruction  were  in  vain,  for  God 
protected  him.     There  was  a  cave  in  the  desert, 
opening  with  a  vast  recess.     David  had  thrown 
himself  into  the  inner  parts  of  this  cave.     Saul, 
not  knowing  that  he  was  there,  had  gone  into  it 
for  the  purpose  of  taking^  bodily  refreshment, 
and  there,  overcome  by  sleep,  he  was  resting. 
When  David  perceived  this,  although  all  urged 
him    to    avail    himself   of    the    opportunity,    he 
abstained  from  slaying  the  king,  and  simply  took 
away  his  mantle.     Presently  going  out,  he  ad- 
dressed the  king  from  a  safe    position   behind, 
recounting  the  services  he  had  done  him,  how 
often  he  had  exposed  his  life  to  peril  for  the 
sake  of  the  kingdom,  and  how  last  of  all,  he  had 
not,  on  the  present  occasion,  sought  to  kill  him 
when  he  was  given  over  to  him  by  God.     Upon 
hearing   these   things,  Saul   confessed   his  fault, 
entreated  pardon,  shed  tears,  extolled  the  piety 
of  David,  and  blamed  his  own  wickedness,  while 
he  addressed  David  as  king  and  son.     He  was 
so    much    changed    from    his    former    ferocious 
character,  that  no  one  could  now  have  thought 
he  would  make  any  further  attempt  against  his 
son-in-law.      But   David,  who    had   thoroughly - 
tested  and  known  his  evil   disposition,  did   not 
think  it  safe  to  put  himself  in  the  power  of  the 
king,  and  kept  himself  within  the  desert.     Saul, 
almost  mad  with  rage,  because  he  was  unable  to 
capture  his  son-in-law,  gave  in  marriage  to  one 
Faltim  his  daughter  Melchol,  who,  as  we  have 
related    above,   had    been    married    to    David. 
David  fled  to  the  Philistines. 


>  "  Reficiendi  corporis  gratia":    diflTerent  from  the  Hebrew  'ext. 
2  The  text  is  uncertain,  but  the  meaning  is  clear. 


CHAPTER   XXXVI. 

At  that  time  Samuel  died.     Saul,  whdn  the 
Philistines  made  war  upon  him,  consulted  God, 
and  no  answer  was  returned  to  him.     Then,  by 
means   of  a  woman  whose   entrails  a  spirit  .of 
error  ^  had  filled,  he  called  up  and  consulted 
Samuel.     Saul  was  informed  by  him  that  on  the 
following  day  he  with  his  sons,  being  overcome 
by  the  Philistines,  would  fall  in  the  battle.     The 
Philistines,    accordingly,    having    pitched    their 
camp  on  the  enemy's  territory,   drew    up  their 
army  in  battle  array  on  the  following  day,  David, 
however,    being    sent    away    from    the    camp, 
because  they  did  not  believe  that  he  would  be 
faithful  to  them  against  his  own  people.      But 
the  battle  taking  place,  the  Hebrews  were  routed 
and  the  sons  of  the  king  fell ;  Saul,  having  sunk 
down  from  his  horse,  that  he  might  not  be  taken 
alive  by  the  enemy,  fell  on  his  own  sword,     ^^'e 
do  not  find  any  certain  statements  as  to  the 
length  of  his  reign,  unless  that  he  is  said  in  the 
Acts   of    the   Apostles   to   have    reigned    forty 
years.     As  to  this,  however,  I  am   inclined  to 
think  that  Paul,  who  made  the  statement  in  his 
preaching,  then  meant  to  include  also  the  years 
of  Samuel  under  the  length  of  that  king's  reign.- 
Most  of  those,  however,  who  have  written  about 
these  times,  remark  that  he  reigned  thirty  years. 
I  can,  by  no  means,  agree  with  this  opinion,  for 
at  the  time  when  the  ark  of  God  was  transferred 
to  the  town  of  Cariathiarim,  Saul  had  not  yet 
begun  to   reign,  and  it  is  related  that  the  ark 
was  removed  by  David  the  king  out  of  that  town 
after  it  had  been  there   twenty  years.     There- 
fore, since   Saul   reigned   and   died  within   that 
period,  he  must  have  held  the  government  only 
for  a  very  brief  space  of  time.     We  find  the 
same  obscurity  concerning  the  times  of  Samuel, 
who,  having  been  born  under  the  priesthood  of 
Eli,  is  related,  when  very  old,  to  have  fulfilled 
the  duties  of  a  priest.     By  some,  however,  who 
have  written  about  these  times   (for  the  sacred 
history  has   recorded  almost  nothing  about  his 
years),"  but  by  most  he  is  said  to  have  ruled  the 
people   seventy  years.      I   have,  however,  been 
unable    to  discover  what   authority  there  is  for 
this  assumption.     Amid    such  variety  of  error, 
we  have  followed  the  account  of  the  Chronicles,* 
because   we    think    that  it  was  taken    (as   said 
above)  from  the  Acts  of  the  Apostles,  and  we 
repeat  that  Samuel  and  Saul  together  held  the 
government  for  forty  years. 

1  The  witch  of  Endor  seems  here  to  be  referred  to  as  if  she  had 
practised  ventriloquism,  this  being  regarded  as  a  form  of  demoniacal 
possession. 

-  See  Alfnrd  on  Acts  xiii.  21. 

3  Halm  here  inserts  the  visual  mark  of  a  lacuna  in  the  text: 
others  omit  the  words  "  a  plerisque  autem." 

■'  He  here  specially  refers  to  the  well-known  Chrputcles  ol 
Eusebius,  which  were  translated  into  Latin,  and  supplemented  by 
Saint  Jerome. 


THE   SACRED    HISTORY  OF    SULPITIUS    SEVERUS. 


89 


CHAPTER   XXXVII. 

Saul  having  thus  been  cut  off,  David,  when  the 
news  of  his  death  was  brought  to  him  in  the  land 
of  the  PhiHstines,  is  related  to  have  wept,  and 
to  have  given  a  marvelous  proof  of  his  affection. 
He  then  betook  himself  to  Hebron,  a  town  of 
Judaea ;  and,  being  there  again  anointed  with 
the  roj-al  oil,  received  the  title  of  king.  But 
Abenner,  who  had  been  master  of  the  host  of 
King  Saul,  despised  David,  and  made  Isbaal 
king,  the  son  of  King  Saul.  Various  battles 
then  took  place  between  the  generals  of  the 
kings.  Abenner  was  generally  routed ;  yet  in 
his  flight  he  cut  off  the  brother  of  Joab,  who 
had  the  command  of  the  army  on  the  side  of 
David.  Joab,  on  account  of  the  sorrow  he  felt 
for  this,  afterwards,  when  Abenner  had  surren- 
dered to  King  Daviei,  ordered  him  to  be  mur- 
dered, not  without  regret  on  the  part  of  the 
king,  whose  honor  he  had  thus  tarnished.  At 
the  same  time,  almost  all  the  older  men  of  the 
Hebrews  conferred  on  him  by  public  consent 
the  sovereignty  of  the  whole  nation ;  for  during 
seven  years  he  had  reigned  only  in  Hebron. 
Thus,  he  was  anointed  king  for  the  third  time, 
being  about  thirty  years  of  age.  He  repulsed 
in  successful  battles  the  Philistines  making  in- 
roads upon  his  kingdom.  And  at  that  time,  he 
transferred  to  Zion  the  ark  of  God,  which,  as  I 
have  said  above,  was  in  the  town  of  Cariathiarim. 
And  when  he  had  formed  the  intention  of  build- 
ing a  temple  to  God,  the  divine  answer  was 
given  him  to  the  effect,  that  that  was  reserved 
for  his  son.  He  then  conquered  the  Philistines 
in  war,  subjugated  the  Moabites,  and  subdued 
Syria,  imposing  tribute  upon  it.  He  brought 
back  with  him  an  enormous  amount  of  booty  in 
gold  and  brass.  Next,  a  war  arose  against  the 
Ammonites  on  account  of  the  injury  which  had 
been  done  by  their  king,  Annon.  And  when 
the  Syrians  again  rebelled,  having  formed  a  con- 
federacy for  war  with  the  Ammonites,  David 
intrusted  the  chief  command  of  the  war  to 
Joab,  the  master  of  his  host,  and  he  himself 
remained  in  Jerusalem  far  from  the  scene  of 
strife. 


CHAPTER  XXXVIII. 

At  this  time,  he  knew  in  a  guilty  way  Bersabe, 
a  woman  of  remarkable  beauty.  She  is  said  to 
have  been  the  wife  of  a  certain  man  called 
Uriah,  who  was  then  in  the  camp.  David  caused 
him  to  be  slain  by  exposing  him  to  the  enemy 
at  a  dangerous  place  in  the  battle.  In  this  way, 
he  added  to  the  number  of  his  wives  the  woman 
who  was  now  free  from  the  bond  of  marriage, 
but  who  was  already  pregnant  through  adultery. 


Then  David,  after  being  severely  reproved  by 
Nathan  the  prophet,  although  he  confessed  his 
sin,  did  not  escape  the  punishment  of  God. 
For  he  lost  in  a  few  days  the  son  who  was  born 
from  the  clandestine  connection,  and  many 
terrible  things  happened  in  respect  to  his  house 
and  family.  At  last  his  son  Absalom  lifted  im- 
pious arms  against  his  father,  with  the  desire  of 
driving  him  from  the  throne.  Joab  encountered 
him  in  the  field  of  battle,  and  the  king  entreated 
him  to  spare  the  young  man  when  conquered  ; 
but  he,  disregarding  this  command,  avenged 
with  the  sword  his  parricidal  attempts.  That 
victory  is  said  to  have  been  a  mournful  one  to 
the  king  :  so  great  was  his  natural  affection  that 
he  wished  even  his  parricidal  son  to  be  forgiven. 
This  war  seemed  hardly  finished  when  another 
arose,  under  a  certain  general  called  Sabaea, 
who  had  stirred  up  all  the  wicked  to  arms. 
But  the  whole  commotion  was  speedily  checked 
by  the  death  of  the  leader.  David  then  engaged 
in  several  battles  against  the  Philistines  with 
favorable  results  ;  and  all  being  subdued  by  war, 
both  foreign  and  home  disturbances  having  been 
brought  to  accord,  he  possessed  in  peace  a  most 
flourishing  kingdom.  Then  a  sudden  desire 
seized  him  of  numbering  the  people,  in  order  to 
ascertain  the  strength  of  his  empire  ;  and  accord- 
ingly they  were  numbered  by  Joab,  the  master 
of  the  host,  and  were  found  to  amount  to  one 
miUion  three  hundred  thousand  ^  citizens.  David 
soon  regretted  and  repented  of  this  proceeding, 
and  implored  pardon  of  God  for  having  lifted 
up  his  thoughts  to  this,  that  he  should  reckon 
the  power  of  his  kingdom  rather  by  the  multi- 
tude of  his  subjects  than  by  the  divine  favor. 
Accordingly,  an  angel  was  sent  to  him  to  reveal 
to  him  a  threefold  punishment,  and  to  give  him 
the  power  of  choosing  either  one  or  another. 
Well,  when  a  famine  for  three  years  was  set 
before  him,  and  flight  before  his  enemies  for 
three  months,  and  a  pestilence  for  three  days, 
shunning  both  flight  and  famine,  he  made  choice 
of  pestilence,  and,  almost  in  a  moment  of  time, 
seventy  thousand  men  perished.  Then  David, 
beholding  the  angel  by  whose  right  hand  the 
people  were  overthrown,  implored  pardon,  and 
offered  himself  singly  to  punishment  instead  of 
all,  saying  that  he  deserved  destruction  inasmuch 
as  it  was  he  who  had  sinned.  Thus,  the  punish- 
ment of  the  people  was  turned  aside  ;  and  David 
built  an  altar  to  God  on  the  spot  where  he  had 
beheld  the  angel.  After  this,  having  become 
infirm  through  years  and  illness,  he  appointed 
Solomon,  who  had  been  born  to  him  by  Bersabe, 
the  wife  of  Uriah,  his  successor  in  the  kingdom. 
He,  having  been  anointed  with  the  royal  oil  by 


'  As  is  often  the  case  with  respect  to  numbers,  there  are  discrep' 
ancies  in  the  various  accounts  given  of  this  census. 


90 


THE   WRITINGS    OF    SULPITIUS    SEVERUS. 


Sadoc  the  priest,  received  the  title  of  king, 
while  his  father  was  still  alive.  David  died, 
after  he  had  reigned  forty  years. 


CHAPTER  XXXIX. 

Solomon  in  the  beginning  of  his  reign  sur- 
rounded the  city  with  a  wall.  To  him  while 
asleep  God  appeared  standing  by  him,  and  gave 
him  the  choice  of  whatever  things  he  desired. 
But  he  asked  that  nothing  more  than  wisdom 
should  be  granted  him,  deeming  all  other  things 
of  little  value.  Accordingly,  when  he  arose  from 
sleep,  taking  his  stand  before  the  sanctuary  of 
God,  he  gave  a  proof  of  the  wisdom  which  had 
been  bestowed  upon  him  by  God.  For  two  women 
who  dwelt  in  one  house,  having  given  birth  to 
male  children  at  the  same  time,  and  one  of  these 
having  died  in  the  night  three  days  afterwards, 
the  mother  of  the  dead  child,  while  the  other 
woman  slept,  insidiously  substituted  her  child, 
and  took  away  the  living  one.  Then  there  arose 
an  altercation  between  them,  and  the  matter 
was  at  length  brought  before  the  king.  As  no 
witness  was  forthcoming,  it  was  a  difficult  matter 
to  give  a  judgment  between  both  denying  guilt. 
Then  Solomon,  in  the  exercise  of  his  gift  of 
divine  wisdom,  ordered  the  child  to  be  slain, 
and  its  body  to  be  divided  between  the  two 
doubtful  claimants.  Well,  when  one  of  them 
acquiesced  in  this  judgment,  but  the  other 
wished  rather  to  give  up  the  boy  than  that  he 
should  be  cut  in  pieces,  Solomon,  concluding 
from  the  feeling  displayed  by  this  woman  that 
she  was  the  true  mother,  adjudged  the  child  to 
her.  The  bystanders  could  not  repress  their 
admiration  at  this  decision,  since  he  had  in  such 
a  way  brought  out  the  hidden  truth  by  his  sa- 
gacity. Accordingly,  the  kings  of  the  neighbor- 
ing nations,  out  of  admiration  for  his  ability  and 
wisdom,  courted  his  friendship  and  alliance, 
being  prepared  to  carry  out  his  commands. 


CHAPTER  XL. 

Trusting  in  these  resources,  Solomon  set 
about  erecting  a  temple  of  immense  size  to  God, 
funds  for  the  purpose  having  been  got  together 
during  three  years,  and  laid  the  foundation  of 
it  about  the  fourth  year  of  his  reign.  This  was 
about  the  five  hundred  and  eighty-eighth  year 
after  the  departure  of  the  Hebrews  from  Egypt, 
although  in  the  third  Book  of  Kings  the  years 
are  reckoned  at  four  hundred  and  forty.'  This 
is  by  no  means  accurate  ;  for  it  would  have  been 
more  likely  that,  in  the  order  of  dates  I  have 

'  Here,  again,  there  is  much  discrepancy  in  the  accounts. 


given  above,  I  should  perhaps  reckon  fewe! 
years  than  more.  But  I  do  not  doubt  that  the 
truth  had  been  flilsified  by  the  carelessness  of 
copyists,  especially  since  so  many  ages  inter- 
vened, rather  than  that  the  sacred"  writer  erred. 
In  the  same  way,  in  the  case  of  this  little  work 
of  ours,  we  believe  it  will  happen  that,  through 
the  negligence  of  transcribers,  those  things  which 
have  been  put  together,  not  without  care  on  our 
part,  should  be  corrupted.  Well,  then,  Solomon 
finished  his  work  of  building  the  temple  in  the 
twentieth  year  from  its  commencement.  Then, 
having  offered  sacrifice  in  that  place,  as  well  as 
uttered  a  prayer,  by  which  he  blessed  the  people 
and  the  temple,  God  spoke  to  him,  declaring 
that,  if  at  any  time  they  should  sin  and  forsake 
God,  their  temple  should  be  razed  to  the  ground. 
We  see  that  this  has  a  long  time  ago  been  ful- 
filled, and  in  due  time  we  shall  set  forth  the 
connected  order  of  events.  In  the  meantime, 
Solomon  abounded  in  wealth,  and  was,  in  fact, 
the  richest  of  all  the  kings  that  ever  lived.  But, 
as  always  takes  place  in  such  circumstances,  he 
sunk  from  wealth  into  luxury  and  vice,  forming 
marriages  (in  spite  of  the  prohibition  of  God) 
with  foreign  women,  until  he  had  seven  hundred 
wives,  and  three  hundred  concubines.  As  a 
consequence,  he  set  up  idols  for  them,  after  the 
manner  of  their  nations,  to  which  they  might 
offer  sacrifice.  God,  turned  away  from  him  by 
such  doings,  reproved  him  sharply,  and  made 
known  to  him  as  a  punishment,  that  the  greater 
part  of  his  kingdom  would  be  taken  from  his 
son,  and  given  to  a  servant.  And  that  happened 
accordingly. 


CHAPTER   XLI. 

For,  on  the  death  of  Solomon  in  the  fortieth 
year  of  his  reign,  Roboam  his  son  having  suc- 
ceeded to  the  throne  of  his  father  in  the  sixteenth 
year  of  his  age,  a  portion  of  the  people,  taking 
offense,  revolted  from  him.  For,  having  asked 
that  the  very  heavy  tribute  which  Solomon  had 
imposed  upon  them  might  be  lessened,  he  re- 
jected the  entreaties  of  these  suppliants,  and 
thus  alienated  from  him  the  favor  of  the  whole 
people.  Accordingly,  by  universal  consent,  the 
government  was  bestowed  on  Jeroboam.  He, 
sprung  from  a  family  of  middle  rank,  had  for 
some  time  been  in  the  service  of  Solomon.  But 
when  the  king  found  that  the  sovereignty  of  the 
Hebrews  had  been  promised  to  him  by  a  re- 
sponse of  the  prophet  Achia,  he  had  resolved 
privately  to  cut  him  off.  Jeroboam,  under  the 
influence  of  this  fear,  fled  into  Egypt,  and  there 
married  a  wife  of  the  royal  family.  But,  v/her 
at  length  he  heard  of  the  death  of  Solomon,  he 

-  "  Propheta." 


THE    SACRED    HISTORY   OF    SULPITIUS    SEVERUS. 


91 


returned  to  his  native  land,  and,  by  the  wish  of 
the  people,  as  we  have  said  above,  he  assumed 
the  government.  Two  tribes,  however,  Judah 
and  Benjamin,  had  remained  under  the  sway  of 
Roboam  ;  and  from  these  he  got  ready  an  army 
of  thirty  thousand  men.  But  when  the  two  hosts 
advanced,  the  people  were  instructed  by  the 
words  of  God  to  abstain  from  fighting,  for  that 
Jeroboam  had  received  the  kingdom  by  divine 
appointment.  Thus  the  army  disdained  the 
command  of  the  king,  and  dispersed,  while  the 
power  of  Jeroboam  was  increased.  But,  since 
Roboam  held  Jerusalem,  where  the  people  had 
been  accustomed  to  offer  sacrifice  to  God  in  the 
temple  built  by  Solomon,  Jeroboam,  fearing  lest 
their  religious  feelings  might  alienate  the  people 
from  him,  resolved  to  fill  their  minds  with  super- 
sdtion.  Accordingly,  he  set  up  one  golden  calf 
at  Bethel,  and  another  at  Dan,  to  which  the 
people  might  offer  sacrifice  ;  and,  passing  by  the 
tribe  of  Levi,  he  appointed  priests  from  among 
the  people.  But  censure  followed  this  guilt 
so  hateful  to  God.  Frequent  battles  then  took 
place  between  the  kings,  and  so  they  retained 
their  respective  kingdoms  on  doubtful  condi- 
tions. Roboam  died  at  the  close  of  the  seven- 
teenth year  of  his  reign. 


CHAPTER   XLII. 

In  his  room  Abiud  his  son  held  the  kingdom 
at  Jerusalem  for  six  years,  although  he  is  said  in 
the  Chronicles^  to  have  reigned  three  years. 
Asab  his  son  succeeded  him,  being  the  fifth 
from  David,  as  he  was  his  great-great-grandson. 
He  was  a  pious  worshiper  of  God ;  for,  de- 
stroying the  altars  and  the  groves  of  the  idols,  he 
removed  the  traces  of  his  father's  faithlessness. 
He  formed  an  alliance  with  che  king  of  Syria, 
and  by  his  help  inflicted  much  loss  on  the  king- 
dom of  Jeroboam,  which  was  then  held  by  his 
son,  and  often,  after  conquering  the  enemy, 
carried  off  spoil  as  the  result  of  victory.  After 
forty-one  }'ears  he  died,  afflicted  with  disease  in 
his  feet.  To  him  sin  of  a  three-fold  kind  is 
ascribed  ;  first,  that  he  trusted  too  much  to  his 
alliance  with  the  king  of  Syria  ;  secondly,  that 
he  cast  into  prison  a  prophet  of  God  who 
rebuked  him  for  this  ;  and  thirdly,  that,  when 
suffering  from  disease  in  his  feet,  he  sought  a 
remedy,  not  from  God,  but  from  the  physicians. 
In  the  beginning  of  his  reign  died  Jeroboam, 
king  of  the  ten  tribes,  and  left  his  throne  to  his 
son  Nabath.  He,  from  his  wicked  works,  and, 
both  by  his  o\vn  and  his  ^  father's  doings,  hateful 
to  God,  did  not  possess  the  kingdom  more  than 
two  years,  and  his  children,  as  being  unworthy, 

*  The  Chronicon  of  Eusebius  is  referred  to. 

*  Many  editors  here  read  "  maternis,"  instead  of  "  paternis." 


were  deprived'"'  of  the  government.  He  had 
for  his  successor  Baasa,  the  son  of  Achia,  and 
he  proved  himself  equally  estranged  from  God. 
He  died  in  the  twenty-sixth  year  of  his  reign  : 
and  his  power  passed  to  Ela  his  son,  but  was 
not  retained  more  than  two  years.  For  Zam- 
bri,  leader  of  his  cavalry,  killed  him  at  a  ban- 
quet, and  seized  the  kingdom,  —  a  man  equally 
odious  to  God  and  men.  A  portion  of  the 
people  revolted  from  him,  and  the  royal  power 
was  conferred  on  one  Thamnis.  But  Zambri 
reigned  before  him  seven  years,  and  at  the  same 
time  with  him  twelve  years.  And,  on  the  death 
of  Asab,  Josaphat  his  son  began  to  reign  over 
part  of  the  tribe  of  Judah,  a  man  deservedly 
famous  for  his  pious  virtues.  He  lived  at  peace 
with  Zambri ;  and  he  died,  after  a  reign  of 
twenty-five  years. 


CHAPTER   XLIII. 

In  the  time  of  his  reign,  Ahab,  the  son  of 
Ambri,  was  king  of  the  ten  tribes,  impious  above 
all  against  God.  For  having  taken  in  marriage 
Jezebel,  the  daughter  of  Basa,  king  of  Sidon,  he 
erected  an  altar  and  groves  to  the  idol  Bahal, 
and  slew  the  prophets  of  God.  At  this  time, . 
Elijah  the  prophet  by  prayer  shut  up  heaven, 
that  it  should  not  give  any  rain  to  the  earth,  and 
revealed  that  to  the  king,  in  order  that  he,  in  < 
his  impiety,  might  know  himself  to  be  the  cause 
of  the  evil.  The  waters  of  heaven,  therefore, . 
being  restrained,  and  since  the  whole  country, 
burned  up  by  the  heat  of  the  sun,  did  not 
furnish  food  either  for  man  or  beast,  the  prophet 
had  even  exposed  himself  to  the  side  of  perish- 
ing from  hunger.  At  that  time,  when  he  betook 
himself  to  the  desert,  he  depended  for  hfe  on 
the  ravens  furnishing  him  with  food,  while  a 
neighboring  rivulet  furnished  him  with  water, 
until  it  was  dried  up.  Then,  being  instmcted 
by  God,  he  went  to  the  town  of  Saraptae,  and 
turned  aside  to  lodge  with  a  widow-woman. 
And  when,  in  his  hunger,  he  begged  food  from 
her,  she  complained  that  she  had  only  a  handful 
of  meal  and  a  litde  oil,  on  the  consumption  of 
which  she  expected  death  along  with  her  chil- 
dren.^ But  when  Elijah  promised  in  the  words 
of  God  that  neither  should  the  meal  lessen  in 
the  barrel  nor  the  oil  in  the  vessel,  the  woman 
did  not  hesitate  to  believe  the  prophet  demand- 
ing faith,  and  obtained  -  the  fulfillment  of  what 
was  promised,  since  by  daily  increase  as  much 

3  It  is  remarkable,  as  Hornivis  has  observed  after  Ligonius,  that, 
while  in  the  kingdom  of  Judah  the  sovereignty  remained  in  the 
same  family,  in  the  kingdom  of  Ephraim  the  scepter  was  hardly 
ever  transmitted  to  son  or  grandson. 

1  "Cum  filiis":  after  the  Greek;  the  Hebrew  text  speaks  of 
only  one  son. 

2  .Such  seems  clearly  to  be  the  meaning  of  the  somewhat  strange 
phrase,  "  promissorum  fidem  consecuta  est." 


92 


THE   WRITINGS   OF    SULPITIUS    SEVERUS. 


was  added  as  was  day  Ijy  day  taken  away.  At 
the  same  time,  Elijah  restored  to  life  the  dead 
son  of  the  same  widow.  Then,  by  the  command 
of  God,  he  went  to  the  king,  and  having  re- 
proved his  impiety,  he  ordered  all  the  people  to 
be  gathered  together  to  himself.  When  these 
had  hastily  assembled,  the  priests  of  the  idols 
and  of  the  groves  to  the  number  of  about  four 
hundred  and  fifty,  were  also  summoned.  Then 
there  arose  a  dispute  between  them,  Elijah  set- 
ting forth  the  honor  of  God,  while  they  upheld 
their  own  superstitions.  At  length  they  agreed 
that  a  trial  should  be  made  to  this  effect,  that, 
if  fire  sent  down  from  heaven  should  consume 
the  slain  victim  of  either  of  them,  that  religion 
should  be  accepted  as  the  true  one  which  per- 
formed the-  miracle.  Accordingly,  the  priests, 
having  slain  a  calf,  began  to  call  upon  the  idol 
Bahal ;  and,  after  wasting  their  invocations  to 
no  purpose,  they  tacitly  acknowledged  the  help- 
lessness of  their  God.  Then  Elijah  mocked 
them  and  said,  "  Cry  aloud  more  vehemently, 
lest  perchance  he  sleeps,  and  that  thus  you  may 
rouse  him  from  the  slumber  in  which  he  is  sunk." 
The  wretched  men  could  do  nothing  but  shudder 
and  mutter  to  themselves,  but  still  they  waited 
to  see  what  Elijah  would  do.  Well,  he  slew  a 
calf  and  laid  it  upon  the  altar,  having  first  of  all 
filled  the  sacred  place  with  water ;  and  then, 
calling  upon  the  name  of  the  Lord,  fire  fell  from 
heaven  in  the  sight  of  all,  and  consumed  alike 
the  water  and  tlie  victim.  Then  truly  the  peo- 
ple, casting  themselves  upon  the  earth,  confessed 
God  and  execrated  the  idols ;  while  finally,  by 
the  command  of  Elijah,  the  impious  priests  were 
seized,  and,  being  brought  down  to  the  brook, 
were  there  slain.  The  prophet  followed  the 
king  as  he  returned  from  that  place  ;  but  as 
Jezebel,  the  wife  of  the  king,  was  devising  means 
for  taking  his  life,  he  retired  to  a  more  remote 
spot.  There  God  addressed  him,  telling  him 
that  there  were  still  seven  thousand  men  who 
had  not  given  themselves  up  to  idols.  That  was 
to  Elijah  a  marvelous  statement,  for  he  had 
supposed  that  he  himself  was  the  only  one  who 
had  kept  free  from  impiety. 


CHAPTER  XLIV. 

At  that  time,  Ahab,  king  of  Samaria,  coveted 
the  vineyard  of  Naboth,  which  was  adjacent  to 
his  own.  And  as  Naboth  was  unwilling  to  sell 
it  to  him,  he  was  cut  off  by  the  wiles  of  Jezebel. 
Thus  Ahab  got  possession  of  the  \ineyard, 
thoiigh  he  is  said  at  the  same  time  to  have 
regretted  the  death  of  Naboth.  Acknowledging 
his  crime,  he  is  related  to  have  done '  penance 
clothed  in  sackcloth  ;  and  in  this  way  he  turned 

*  "  Egisse  paenitentiain." 


aside  threatening  punishment.  For  the  king  of 
Syria  with  a  great  army,  having  formed  a  military 
confederacy  with  thirty-two  kings,  entered  the 
territories  of  Samaria,  and  began  to  besiege  the 
city  with  its  king.  The  affairs  of  the  besieged 
being  then  in  a  state  of  great  distress,  the  Syrian 
king  offers  these  conditions  in  the  war,  —  if  they 
should  give  up  their  gold  and  silver  and  women, 
he  would  spare  their  lives.  But,  with  such  in- 
iquitous conditions  offered,  it  seemed  better  to 
suffer  the  greatest  extremities.  And  now  when 
the  safety  of  all  was  despaired  of,  a  prophet  sent 
by  God  went  to  the  king,  encouraged  him  to 
go  forth  to  battle,  and  when  he  hesitated, 
strengthened  his  confidence  in  many  ways.  Ac- 
cordingly making  a  sally,  the  enemy  were  routed, 
and  an  abundant  store  of  booty  was  secured. 
But,  after  a  year,  the  Syrian  king  returned  with 
recruited  strength  into  Samaria,  burning  to 
avenge  the  defeat  he  had  received,  but  was 
again  overthrown.  In  that  battle  one  hundred 
and  twenty  thousand  of  the  Syrians  perished  ; 
the  king  was  pardoned,  and  his  kingdom  and 
former  position  were  granted  him.  Then  Ahab 
was  reproved  by  the  prophet  in  the  words  of 
God,  for  having  abused  the  divine  kindness,  and 
spared  the  enemy  delivered  up  to  him.  The 
Syrian  king,  therefore,  after  three  years,  made 
war  upon  the  Hebrews.  Against  him  Ahab, 
under  the  advice  of  some  false  prophet,  went 
forth  to  battle,  having  spurned  the  words  of 
Michea  the  prophet  and  cast  him  into  prison, 
because  the  prophet  had  warned  him  that  the 
fight  would  prove  disastrous  to  him.  Thus, 
then,  Ahab,  being  slain  in  that  battle,  left  the 
kingdom  to  his  son  Ochozia. 


CEIAPTER  XLV. 

He  being  sick  in  body,  and  having  sent  some 
of  his  servants  to  consult  an  idol  about  his 
recovery,  Elijah,  as  instructed  by  God,  met  them 
in  the  way,  and,  after  rebuking  them  ordered 
them  to  inform  the  king  that  his  death  would 
follow  from  that  disease.  Then  the  king 
ordered  him  to  be  seized  and  brought  into  his 
presence,  but  those  who  were  sent  for  this  pur- 
pose were  consumed  by  fire  from  heaven.  The 
king  died,  as  the  ])rophet  had  predicted.  To 
him  there  succeeded  his  brother  Joram  ;  and  he 
held  the  government  for  the  space  of  twelve 
years.  But  on  the  side  of  the  two  tribes,  Josa- 
phat  the  king  having  died,  Joram  his  son  pos- 
sessed the  kingdom  for  eighteen  years.  He  had 
the  daughter  of  Ahab  to  wife,  and  proved  him- 
self more  like  his  father-in-law  than  his  father. 
After  him,  Ochozias  his  son  obtained  the  king- 
dom. During  his  reign,  Elijah  is  related  to  have 
been  taken  up  to  heaven.     At  the  same  time, 


THE   SACRED    HISTORY    OF    SULPITIUS    SEVERUS. 


93 


b 


Elisha  his  disciple  showed  himself  powerful  by 
working  many  miracles,  which  are  all  too  well 
known  to  need  any  description  from  my  pen.  By 
him  the  son  of  a  widow  was  restored  to  life,  a 
leper  of  Syria  was  cleansed,  at  a  time  of  famine 
abundance  of  all  things  was  brought  into  the  city 
by  the  enemy  having  been  put  to  flight,  water 
was  furnished  for  the  use  of  three  armies,  and 
from  a  little  oil  the  debt  of  a  woman  was  paid 
by  the  oil  being  immensely  multiplied,  and  suffi- 
cient means  for  a  livelihood  was  provided  for 
herself.  In  his  times,  as  we  have  said,  Ochozia 
was  king  of  the  two  tribes,  while  Joram,  as  we 
have  related  above,  ruled  over  the  ten ;  and  an 
alliance  was  formed  between  them.  For  war 
was  carried  on  by  them  with  combined  forces 
both  against  the  Syrians,  and  against  Jeu,  who 
had  been  anointed  by  the  prophet  as  king  of 
the  ten  tribes  ;  and  having  gone  forth  to  battle 
in  company,  they  both  perished  in  the  same 
fight. 


CHAPTER  XLVI. 

But  Jeu  possessed  the  kingdom  of  Joram. 
After  the  death  of  Ochozia  in  Judaea,  when  he 
had  reigned  one  year,  his  mother,  Gotholiah, 
seized  the  supreme  power,  having  deprived  her 
grandson  (whose  name  was  Joas)  of  the  gov- 
ernment, he  being  at  the  time  but  a  little  child. 
But  the  power  thus  snatched  from  him  by  his 
grandmother  was,  after  eight  years,  restored  to 
him  through  means  of  the  priests  and  people, 
while  his  grandmother  was  driven  into  exile. 
He,  at  the  beginning  of  his  reign,  was  most  de- 
voted to  the  divine  worship,  and  embellished 
the  temple  at  great  expense  ;  afterwards,  how- 
ever, being  corrupted  by  the  flattery  of  the 
chief  men,  and  unduly  honored  by  them,  he 
incurred  wrath.  For  Azahel,  king  of  Syria, 
made  war  upon  him  ;  and,  as  things  w^ent  badly 
with  him,  he  purchased  peace  with  the  gold  of 
the  temple.  He  did  not,  however,  obtain  it ; 
but  through  resentment  for  what  he  had  done, 
he  was  slain  by  his  own  people  in  the  fortieth 
year  of  his  reign.  He  was  succeeded  by  his  son 
Amassia.  But,  on  the  side  of  the  ten  tribes, 
Jeu  having  died,  Joachas  his  son  began  to  reign, 
displeasing  to  God  on  account  of  his  wicked 
works,  in  punishment  of  which  his  kingdom  was 
ravaged  by  the  Syrians,  until,  through  the  mercy 
of  God,  the  enemy  was  driven  back,  and  the 
inhabitants  of  the  land  began  to  occupy  their 
former  position.  Joachas,  having  ended  his 
days,  left  the  kingdom  to  his  son  Joa.  He 
raised  civil  war  against  Amassia,  king  of  the  two 
tribes  ;  and,  having  obtained  the  victory,  con- 
veyed much  spoil  into  his  own  kingdom.  That 
is   related    to  have   occurred  to  Amassia  as  a 


punishment  of  his  sin,  for,  having  entered  as 
a  con(iueror  the  territories  of  the  Idumaeans,  he 
had  adopted  the  idols  of  that  nation.  He  is 
described  as  having  reigned  nine  years,  so  far 
as  I  find  it  stated  in  the  Books  of  Kings.  But 
in  the  Chronicles  ^  of  Scripture,  as  well  as  in  the 
Chronicles  -  of  Eusebius,  he  is  affirmed  to  have 
held  the  government  twenty-nine  years ;  and 
the  mode  of  reckoning  which  may  easily  be 
perceived  in  these  Books  of  Kings  undoubtedly 
leads  to  that  conclusion.  For  Jeroboam  is  said 
to  have  begun  to  reign  as  king  of  the  ten  tribes 
in  the  eighth  year  of  the  reign  of  Amassia,  and 
to  have  held  the  government  forty-one  years, 
and  to  have  at  length  died  in  the  fourth  year  of 
the  reign  of  Ozia,  son  of  Amassia.  By  this  mode 
of  reckoning,  the  reign  of  Amassia  is  made  to 
extend  over  twenty-eight  years.  Accordingly, 
we,  following  out  this,  inasmuch  as  it  is  our  pur- 
pose to  adhere  in  this  work  to  the  dates  in  their 
proper  order,  have  accepted  the  authority  of  the 
Chronicles.^ 

CHAPTER   XLVH. 

OziAS,  then,  the  son  of  Amassia,  succeeded  to 
him.  For,  on  the  side  of  the  ten  tribes,  Joas, 
reaching  the  end  of  his  days,  had  given  place  to 
his  son  Jeroboa,  and  after  him,  again,  his  son 
Zacharias  began  to  reign.  Of  these  kings,  and 
of  all  who  ruled  over  Samaria  on  the  side  of  the 
ten  tribes,  we  have  not  thought  it  necessary  to 
note  the  dates,  because,  aiming  at  brevity,  we 
have  omitted  everything  superfluous ;  and  we 
have  thought  that  the  years  should  be  carefully 
traced  for  a  knowledge  especially  of  the  times 
of  that  portion  ^  of  the  Jews,  which  being  carried 
into  captivity  at  a  later  period  than  the  other, 
passed  through  a  longer  time  as  a  kingdom. 
Ozias,  then,  having  obtained  the  kingdom  of 
Judah,  gave  his  principal  care  to  knowing  the 
Lord,  making  great  use  of  Zachariah  the  prophet 
(Isaiah,  too,  is  said  to  have  first  prophesied 
under  this  king)  ;  and,  on  this  account,  he 
carried  on  war  against  his  neighbors  with  de- 
servedly prosperous  results,  while  he  also  con- 
quered the  Arabians.  And  already  he  had 
shaken  Egypt  with  the  terror  of  his  name ;  but, 
being  elated  by  prosperity,  he  ventured  on  what 
was  forbidden,  and  offered  incense  to  God,  a 
thing  which  it  was  the  established  custom  for 
the  priests  alone  to  do.  Being,  then,  rebuked 
by  Azaria  the  priest,  and  compelled  to  leave  the 
sacred  place,  he  burst  out  into  a  rage,  but  was, 
when  he  finally  withdrew,  covered  with  leprosy. 
Under  the  influence  of  this  disease  he  ended  his 


'  "  Paralipomenis." 
-  "  Chronicis."  i.e.  of  Eusebius. 
3  "  Chronicorum,"  i.e.  of  Eusebius. 

'  There  is  a  reference  in  these  words  to  the  two  tribes,  or  kingdom 
of  Judah. 


94 


THE    WRITINGS    OF    SULPITIUS    SEVERUS. 


days,  after  having  reigned  fifty-two  years.  Then 
tne  kingdom  was  given  to  Joathas  his  son  ;  and 
he  is  related  to  have  been  very  pious,  and  carried 
on  the  government  with  success  :  he  subdued  in 
war  the  nation  of  the  Ammonites,  and  compelled 
them  to  pay  tribute.  He  reigned  sixteen  years, 
and  his  son  Achaz  succeeded  him. 


CHAPTER   XLVIII. 

The  remarkable  faith  of  the  Ninevites  is  re- 
lated to  have  been  manifested  about  these  times. 
That  town,  founded  of  old  by  Assure,  the  son 
of  Sera,  was  the  capital  of  the  kingdom  of  the 
Assyrians.     It  was  then  full  of  a  multitude  of 
inhabitants,  sustaining  one  hundred  and  twenty 
thousand  men,  and  abounding  in  wickedness,  as 
is  usually  the  case  among  a  vast  concourse  of 
people.     God,  moved  by  their  sinfulness,  com- 
manded the  prophet  Jonah  to  go  from  Judaea, 
and   denounce   destruction   upon    the    city,    as 
Sodom  and  Gomorrah  had   of  old   been  con- 
sumed by  fire  from  heaven.     But  the  prophet 
decUned   that  office  of  preaching,  not   out  of 
contumacy,  but  from   foresight,  which   enabled 
him  to  behold  God  reconciled  through  the  re- 
pentance of  the  people  ;  and  he  embarked  on 
board  a  ship  which  was  bound  for  Tharsus,  in  a 
very    different    direction.     But,   after    they  had 
gone  forth  into  the  deep,  the  sailors,  constrained 
by  the  violence  of  the  sea,  inquired  by  means 
of  the  lot  who  was  the  cause  of  that  suffering. 
And  when  the  lot  fell  upon  Jonah,  he  was  cast 
into  the  sea,  to  be,  as  it  were,  a  sacrifice   for 
stilling   the   tempest,    and   he   was    seized    and 
swallowed  by  a  whale  —  a  monster  of  the  deep. 
Cast  out  three  days  afterwards  on  the  shores  of 
the  ^  Ninevites,  he  preached  as   he   had    been 
commanded,    namely    that    the    city    would    be 
destroyed  in  three"  days,  as  a  punishment  for 
the  sins  of  the  people.     The  voice  of  the  prophet 
was  listened  to,  not  in  a  hypocritical  fashion,  as 
at  Sodom  of  old  ;  and  immediately  by  the  order, 
and  after  the  example,  of  the   king,  the  whole 
people,  and  even  those  infants  newly  born,  are 
commanded  to  abstain   from    meat  and  drink  : 
the   very  beasts    of   burden   in  the  place,  and 
animals   of    different    kinds,    being   forced    by 
hunger  and  thirst,  presented  an  appearance  of 
those  who  lamented  along  with  the  human  in- 
habitants.    In  this  way,  the  threatened  evil  was 
averted.     To  Jonah,  complaining  to  God,  that 
his  words  had  not  been  fulfilled,  it  was  answered 
that  pardon  could  never  be  denied  to  the  peni- 
tent. 

'  Surely  a  blunder;  for,  as  has  been  well  asked,  how  could  Jonah, 
who  was  swallowed  by  a  whale  in  the  Mediterranean,  have  been  cast 
out  by  the  fish  on  the  shores  of  the  Ninevites?  The  Hebrew  text 
has  simply  "  the  dryland." 

^  After  the  Greek;  the  Hebrew  has  "  forty  days." 


CHAPTER   XLIX. 

But  in  Samaria,  Zacharia  the  king,  who  was 
very   wicked,  and   whom    we    have   spoken   of 
above  as  occupying  the  throne,  was  slain  by  a 
certain  Sella,  who  seized  the  kingdom.     He,  in 
turn,  perished  by  the  treachery  of  Mane,  who 
simply  repeated  the  conduct  of  his  predecessor. 
Mane  held  the  government  which  he  had  taken 
from  Sella,  and  left  it  to  his  son  Pache.     But  a 
certain  person  of  the  same  name  slew  Pache, 
and  seized  the  kingdom.     Ere  long  being  cut  off 
by  Osee,  he  lost  the  sovereignty  by  the  same 
crime  by  which  he  had  received  it.     This  man, 
being  ungodly  beyond   all  the  kings  who  had 
preceded  him,  brought  punishment  upon  himself 
from    God,   and    a   perpetual    captivity    on    his 
nation.     For  Salmanasar,  king  of  the  Assyrians, 
made  war  with  him,  and  when  conquered  ren- 
dered   him    tributary.     But   when,    with    secret 
plans,  he  was  preparing  for  rebellion,  and  had 
asked  the  king  of  the  Ethiopians,  who  then  had 
possession  of  Egypt  for  his  assistance,  Salman- 
asar, on  discovering  that,  cast  him  into  prison 
with  fetters  never  taken  off,  while  he  destroyed 
the  city,  and  carried  off  the  whole  people  into 
his  own  kingdom,  Assyrians  being  placed  in  the 
enemy's  country  to  guard  it.     Hence  that  district 
was  called  Samaria,  because  in  the  language  of 
the  Assyrians  guards  are  called  Samaritee.^     Very 
many  of  their  settlers  accepted  the  divine  rite* 
of  the  Jewish  religion,  while  others  remained  in 
the  errors  of  heathenism.     In  this  war,  Tobias 
was  carried  into  captivity.     But  on  the  side  of 
the  two  tribes,  Achaz,  who  was  displeasing  to  God 
on  account  of  his  impiety,  finding  he  had  fre- 
quently the  worst  of  it  in  wars  with  his  neigh- 
bors,  resolved    to    worship   the    gods    of    the 
heathen,  undoubtedly  because  by  their  help  his 
enemies    had     proved    victorious    in    frequent 
battles.     He  ended  his  days  Avith  this  crime-  in 
his  wicked  mind,  after  a  reign  of  sixteen  years. 


CHAPTER   L. 

To  him  succeeded  Ezekias  his  son,  a  man 
very  unlike  his  father  in  character.  For,  in  the 
beginning  of  his  reign,  urging  the  people  and  the 
priests  to  the  worship  of  God,  he  discoursed  to 
them  in  many  words,  showing  how  often,  after 
being  chastened  by  the  Lord,  they  had  obtained 
mercy,  and  how  the  ten  tribes,  having  been  at 
last  carried  away  into  captivity,  as  had  lately 
happened,  were  now  paying  the  penalty  of  their 
impiety.  He  added  that  their  duty  was  care- 
fully to  be  on  their  guard  lest  they  should  de- 
serve   to    suffer    the    same    things.      Thus,    the 

1  Vorstius  remarks  that  this  is  a  totally  erroneous  statement. 
!  "  Piaculo":  a  very  old  meaning  is  here  attached  to  the  word. 


THE   SACRED    HISTORY   OF    SULPITIUS   SEVERUS. 


95 


minds  of  all  being  turned  to  religion,  he  ap- 
pointed the  Levites  and  all  the  priests  to  offer 
sacrifices  according  to  the  law,  and  arranged 
that  the  Passover,  which  had  for  a  long  time 
been  neglected,  should  be  celebrated.  And 
when  the  holy  day  was  at  hand,  he  proclaimed 
the  special  day  of  assembly  by  messengers  sent 
throughout  all  the  land,  so  that,  if  any  had 
remained  in  Samaria,  after  the  removal  of  the 
ten  tribes,  they  might  gather  together  for  the 
sacred  observance.  Thus,  in  a  very  full  assem- 
blage, the  sacred  day  was  spent  with  public 
rejoicing,  and,  after  a  long  interval,  the  proper 
religious  rites  were  restored  by  means  of  Ezekias. 
He  then  carried  on  military  affairs  with  the 
same  diligence  with  which  he  had  attended  to 
divine  things,  and  defeated  the  Philistines  in 
frequent  battles  ;  until  Sennacherim,  king  of  the 
Assyrians,  made  war  against  him,  having  entered 
his  territories  with  a  large  army  ;  and  then,  when 
the  country  had  been  laid  waste  without  any 
opposition,  he  laid  siege  to  the  city.  For  Eze- 
kias, being  inferior  in  numbers,  did  not  venture 
to  come  to  an  engagement  with  him,  but  kept 
himself  safe  within  the  walls.  The  king  of 
Assyria,  thundering  at  the  gates,  threatened  de- 
struction, and  demanded  surrender,  exclaiming 
that  in  vain  did  Ezekias  put  his  trust  in  God,  for 
that  he  rather  had  taken  up  arms  by  the  appoint- 
ment of  God  ;  and  that  the  conqueror  of  all 
nations,  as  well  as  the  overthrower  of  Samaria, 
could  not  be  escaped,  unless  the  king  secured 
his  own  safety  by  a  speedy  surrender.  In  this 
state  of  affairs,  Ezekias,  trusting  in  God,  con- 
sulted the  prophet  Isaiah,  and  from  his  answer 
he  learned  that  there  would  be  no  danger  from 
the  enemy,  and  that  the  divine  assistance  would 
not  fail  him.  And,  in  fact,  not  long  after, 
Tarraca,  king  of  Ethiopia,  invaded  the  kingdom 
of  the  Assyrians. 


CHAPTER  LI. 

By  this  news  Sennacherim  was  led  to  return 
in  order  to  defend  his  own  territories,  and  he 
gave  up  the  war,  at  the  same  time  murmuring 
and  crying  out  that  victory  was  snatched  from 
him  the  victor.  He  also  sent  letters  to  Ezekias, 
declaring,  with  many  insulting  words,  that  he, 
after  setding  his  own  affairs,  would  speedily 
return  for  the  destruction  of  Judoea.  But  Eze- 
kias, in  no  wise  disturbed  by  these  threats,  is 
said  to  have  prayed  to  God  that  he  would  not 
alluw  the  so  great  insolence  of  this  man  to  pass 
unavenged.  Accordingly,  in  the  same  night, 
an  angel  attacking  the  camp  of  the  Assyrians, 
caused  ^  the  death  of  many  thousand  men.     The 

'  Our  author  is  here  guilty  of  omission  and  consequent  inaccu- 
racy.    Comp.  Isa.  chap.  37. 


king  in  terror  fled  to  the  town  of  Nineveh,  and 
being  there  slain  by  his  sons,  met  with  an  end 
worthy  of  himself.  At  the  same  time,  Ezekias, 
sick  in  body,  lay  suffering  from  disease.  And 
when  Isaiah  had  announced  to  him  in  the  words 
of  the  Lord  that  the  end  of  his  life  was  at  hand, 
the  king  is  related  to  have  wept ;  and  thus  he 
got  fifteen  years  added  to  his  life.  Thesff  com- 
ing to  an  end,  he  died  in  the  twenty-ninth  year 
of  his  reign,  and  left  the  kingdom  to  his  son 
Manasse.  He,  degenerating  much  from  his 
father,  forsook  God,  and  took  to  the  practice  of 
impious  worship  ;  and  being,  as  a  punishment 
for  this,  delivered  into  the  power  of  the  Assyr- 
ians, he  was  by  his  sufferings  constrained  to 
acknowledge  his  error,  and  exhorted  the  people 
that,  forsaking  their  idols,  they  should  worship 
God.  He  accomplished  nothing  worthy  of 
special  mention,  but  reigned  for  fifty-five  years. 
Then  Amos  his  son  obtained  the  kingdom,  but 
possessed  it  only  two  years.  He  was  the  heir 
of  his  father's  impiety,  and  showed  himself  re- 
gardless of  God :  being  entrapped  by  some 
stratagems  of  his  friends,  he  perished. 


CHAPTER  LII. 

The  government  then  passed  to  his  son  Josia. 
He  is  related  to  have  been  very  pious,  and  to 
have  attended  to  divine  things  with  the  utmost 
care,  profiting  largely  by  the  aid  of  the  priest 
Helchia.  Having  read  a  book  written  with  the 
words  of  God,  and  which  had  been  found  in 
the  temple  by  the  priest,  in  which  it  was  stated 
that  the  Hebrew  nation  would  be  destroyed  on 
account  of  their  frequent  acts  of  impiety  and 
sacrilege,  by  his  pious  supplications  to  God, 
and  constant  tears,  he  averted  the  impending 
overthrow.  When  he  learned  through  Olda  the 
prophetess  that  this  favor  was  granted  him,  he 
then  with  still  greater  care  set  himself  to  prac- 
tice the  worship  of  God,  inasmuch  as  he  was 
now  under  obligation  to  the  divine  goodness. 
Accordingly,  he  burned  all  the  vessels  which 
had  by  the  superstitions  of  former  kings  been 
consecrated  to  idols.  For  to  such  a  height  had 
profane  observances  prevailed,  that  they  used  to 
pay  divine  honors  to  the  sun  and  moon,  and 
even  erected  shrines  made  of  metal  to  these 
fancied  deities.  Josia  reduced  these  to  powder, 
and  also  slew  the  priests  of  the  profane  temples. 
He  did  not  even  spare  the  tombs  of  the  im- 
pious ;  and  it  was  observed  that  thus  was  ful- 
filled what  had  of  old  been  predicted  by  the 
prophet.  In  the  eighteenth  year  of  his  reign, 
the  Passover  was  celebrated.  And  about  three 
years  afterwards,  having  gone  forth  to  battle 
against  Nechao,  king  of  Egypt,  who  was  making 
war  upon  the  Assyrians,  before  the  armies  prop- 


96 


THE   WRITINGS    OF    SULPITIUS    SEVERUS. 


erly  engaged,  he  was  wounded  by  an  arrow. 
And  being  carried  back  to  the  city,  he  died  of 
that  wound,  after  he  had  reigned  twenty  and  one 
years. 


CHAPTER   LIII. 

» 

JoACHAS,  his   son,  having   then  obtained  the 
kingdom,  held  it  for  three  months,  being  doomed 
to   captivity  on    account   of  his  impiety.      For 
.Nechao,  king  of  Egypt,  bound  him  and  led  him 
away  captive,  and  not  long   after,  while  still  a 
prisoner,  he  ended  his  days.     An  annual  tribute 
was  demanded  of  the  Jews,  and  a  king  was  given 
them  at  the  will  of  the  victor.     His  name  was 
Eliakim,  but  he  afterwards  changed  it  to  Joa- 
chim.    He  was  the  brother  of  Joacha,  and  the 
son  of  Josia,  but  liker  his  brother  than  his  father, 
displeasing  God  by  his  impiety.     Accordingly, 
while  he  was  in  subjection  to  the  king  of  Egypt, 
and   in   token   thereof  paid    him    tribute,    Na- 
buchodt)nosor,  the  king  of  Babylon,  seized  the 
land  of  Judsa,  and  as  victor  held  it  by  the  right 
of  war  for  three  years.     For  the  king  of  Egypt 
now  giving  way,  and  the  boundaries   of   their 
empire  being  fixed  between  them,  it  had  been 
agreed  that  the  Jews  should  belong  to  Babylon. 
Thus  after  Joachim,  having  finished  his  reign  of 
eleven  years,  had  given  place  to  his  son  of  the 
same  name,  and  he  had  excited  against  himself 
the  wrath  of  the  king  of  Babylon  (God  undoubt- 
edly overruling   everything,    having   resolved  to 
give  the  nation  of  the  Jews  up  to  captivity  and 
destruction),  Nabuchodonosor  entered  Jerusa- 
lem with  an  army,  and  leveled  the  walls  and  the 
temple  to  the  ground.     He  also  carried  off  an 
immense  amount  of  gold,  with  sacred  ornaments 
either  public  or  private,  and  all  of  mature  age 
both  of  the  male  and   female  sex,  those  only 
being  left  behind  whose  weakness  or  age  caused 
trouble  to  the  conquerors.     This  useless  crowd 
had  the  task  assigned  them  of  working  and  cul- 
tivating the  fields  in  slavery,  in  order  that  the 
soil  might  not  be  neglected.     Over  them  a  king 
called  Sedechias  was  appointed  ;    but  while  the 
empty  shadow  of  the  name  of  king  was  allowed 
him,  all  real  power  was  taken  away.     Joachim, 
for  his  part,  possessed  the  sovereignty  only  for 
three  months.     He  was  carried  away,  along  with 
the  people,  to   Babylon,  and  was   there  thrown 
into  prison ;  but  being,  after  a  period  of  thirty 
years  released,  while  he  was   admitted  by  the 
king  to  his  friendship,  and  made  a  partaker  with 
him  at  his  table  and  in  his  counsels,  he  died  at 
last,  not  without  some  consolation  in  that  his 
misfortunes  had  been  removed. 


CHAPTER   LIV. 

Meanwhile  Sedechias,  the  king  of  the  useless 
multitude,  although  without  power,  being  of  an 
unfaithful   disposition   and   neglectful   of    God, 
and  not  understanding  that  captivity  had  been 
brought  upon  them  on  account  of  the  sins  of  the 
nation,  becoming  at  length  ripe  for  suffering  the 
last  evils  he  could  endure,  offended  the  mind  of 
the  king.     Accordingly,  after  a  period  of  nine 
years,  Nabuchodonosor  made  war  against  him, 
and  having  forced  him  to  flee  within  the  walls, 
besieged  him  for  three  years.     At  this  time,  he 
consulted  Jeremia  the  prophet,  who  had  already 
often  proclaimed  that  captivity  impended  over 
the  city,  to  discover  if  perhaps  there  might  still 
be  some   hope.      But  he,  not  ignorant  of  the 
anger  of  heaven,  having  frequently  had  the  same 
question  put  to  him,  at  length  gave  an  answer, 
denouncing  special  punishment  upon  the  king. 
Then  Sedechias,  roused  to  resentment,  ordered 
the  prophet  to  be  thrust  into  prison.     Ere  long, 
however,  he  regretted  this  cruel  act,  but,  as  the 
chief  men  of  the  Jews  (whose   practice  it  had 
been  even    from    the    beginning   to   afflict   the 
righteous)  opposed  him,  he  did  not  venture  to 
release  the  innocent  man.     Under  coercion  from 
the  same  persons,   the  prophet  was   let  down 
into  a  pit  ^  of  great  depth,  and  which  was  dis- 
gusting from  its  filth  and  squalor,  while  a  deadly 
stench  issued  from  it.     This  was  done  that  he 
might  not  simply  die  by  a  common  death.     But 
the  king,  impious  though  he  was,  yet  showed 
himself  somewhat  more  merciful  than  the  priests, 
and  ordered  the  prophet  to  be  taken  out  of  the 
pit,  and  restored  to  the  safekeeping  of  the  prison. 
In  the  meantime  the  force   of  the  enemy  and 
want   began   to   press   the  besieged  hard,  and 
everything  being  consumed  that  could  be  eaten, 
famine  took  a  firm  hold  of  them.     Thus,  its  de- 
fenders being  worn  out  with  want  of  food,  the 
town  was  taken   and   burnt.     The  king,  as  the 
prophet  had  declared,  had  his  eyes  put. out,  and 
was   carried  away  to    Babylon,  while   Jeremia, 
through  the  mercy  of  the  enemy,  was  taken  out 
of  his  prison.     When  Nabuzardan,  one  of  the 
royal  princes,  was  leading  him  away  captive  with 
the  rest,  the  choice  was  granted  by  him  to  the 
prophet,  either  to  remain  in  his  deserted  and 
desolated  native   country,  or  to  go  along  with 
him   in  the  possession  of   the  highest  honors ; 
and   Jeremia   preferred   to   abide   in   his  native 
land.      Nabuchodonosor,    having   carried    away 
the  people,  appointed  as  governor  over  those 
left  behind  by  the  conquerors  (either  from  the 
circumstances  attending  the  war,  or  from  an  ab- 
solute weariness  of  accumulating  spoil)  Godolia, 
who   belonged  to  the  same  nation.     He  gave 


1  "  Lacum,"  as  once  before. 


THE   SACRED    HISTORY   OF   SULPITIUS    SEVERUS. 


97 


him,  however,  no  royal  ensign,  or  even  the  name 
of  governor,  because  there  was  really  no  honor 
in  ruling  over  these  few  wretched  persons. 


BOOK     II 


CHAPTER   I. 


The  times  of  the  captivity  have  been  rendered 
illustrious  by  the  predictions  and  deeds  of  the 
prophets,  and  especially  by  the  remarkable  per- 
sistency of  Daniel  in  upholding  the  law,  and  by 
the  deliverance  of  Susanna  through  the  divine 
wisdom,  as  well  as  by  the  other  things  which  it 
accomplished,  and  which  we  shall  now  relate  in 
their  order.     Daniel  was  made  a  prisoner  under 
King    Joachim,  and  was    brought   to    Babylon, 
while  still  a  very  little   child.     Afterwards,  on 
account  of  the  beauty  of  his  countenance,  he 
had  a  place  given  him  among  the  king's  servants, 
and  along  with  him,  Annanias,  INIisael,  and  Aza- 
rias.     But,  when  the  king  had  ordered  them  to 
be  supplied  with  the  finer  kinds  of  food,  and 
had  imposed  it  as  a  duty  on  Asphane  the  eunuch 
to  attend  to  that  matter,  Daniel,  mindful  of  the 
traditions  of  his  fathers  which  forbade  him  to 
partake  of  food  from  the  table  of  a  king  of  the 
Gentiles,  begged  of  the  eunuch  to  be  allowed 
to  use  a  diet  of  pulse  only.     Asphane  objected 
that  the  leanness  which  would  follow  might  reveal 
the  fact  that  the  king's  commandment  had  been 
disobeved  ;  but  Daniel,  putting  his  trust  in  God, 
promised  that  he  would  have  greater  beauty  of 
countenance  from  living  on  pulse  than  from  the 
use  of  the  king's  dainties.     And  his  words  were 
made  good,  so  that  the  faces  of  those  who  were 
cared  for  at  the  public,  expense  were  regarded 
as  by  no  means  comparable  to  those  of  Daniel 
and  his  friends.     Accordingly,  being  promoted 
by  the  king  to  honor  and  favor,  they  were,  in  a 
short  time,  by  their  prudence  and  wise  conduct, 
preferred  to  all  those  that  stood  nearest  to  the 
king.     About  the  same  time,  Susanna,  the  wife 
of  a  certain   man  called  Joachis,  a  woman   of 
remarkable  beauty,  was  desired  by  two  elders, 
and,  when  she  would  not  listen  to  their  unchaste 
proposals,  was    assailed   by  a  false    accusation. 
These   elders   reported   that  a  young  man  was 
found  with  her  in  a  retired  place,  but  escaped 
their  hands   by  his  youthful   nimbleness,  while 
they  were  enfeebled  with  age.     Credit,  accord- 
ingly, was   given   to   these   elders,  and  Susanna 
was  condemned  by  the  sentence  of  the  people. 
And,  as  she  was  being  led  away  to  punishment 
according    to    the    law,   Daniel,   who    was    then 
twelve  years  old,  after  having  rebuked  the  Jews 
for  delivering  the  innocent  to  death,  demanded 
that  she  should  be  brought  back  to  trial,  and 


that  her  cause  should  be  heard  afresh.  For  the 
multitude  of  the  Jews  who  were  then  present, 
thought  that  a  boy  of  an  age  so  little  command- 
ing respect,  had  not  ventured  to  take  such  a 
bold  step  without  a  divine  impulse,  antl,  granting 
him  the  favor  which  was  asked,  returned  anew 
to  council.  The  trial,  then,  is  entered  upon 
once  more  ;  and  Daniel  was  allowed  to  take  his 
place  among  the  elders.  Upon  this,  he  orders 
the  two  accusers  to  be  separated  from  each 
other,  and  inquires  of  each  of  them  in  turn, 
under  what  kind  of  a  tree  he  had  discovered  the 
adulteress.  From  the  difference  of  answers 
which  they  gave,  their  falsehood  was  detected  : 
Susanna  was  acquitted  ;  and  the  elders,  who  had 
brought  the  innocent  into  danger,  were  con- 
demned to  death. 


CHAPTER   II. 

At  that  time,  Nabuchodonosor  had  a  dream 
marvelous  for  that  insight  ^  into  the  future  which 
it  implied.     As  he  could  not  of  himself  bring 
out  its  interpretation,  he  sent  for  the  Chald?eans 
who  were  supposed  by  magic  arts  and  by  the 
entrails  of  victims  to  know  secret  things,  and  to 
predict  the  future,  in  order  to  its  interpretation. 
Presently  becoming   apprehensive    lest,  in   the 
usual  manner  of  men,  they  should  extract  from 
the  dream  not  what  was  true,  but  what  would 
be  acceptable  to  the   king,  he   suppresses  the 
things  he  had  seen,  and  demands  of  them  that, 
if  a  real  power  of  divination  was  in  them,  they 
should   relate  to   him   the  dream  itself;   saying 
that  he  would  then  believe  their  interpretation, 
if  they  should  first  make  proof  of  their  skill  by 
relating  the  dream.     But  they  decUned  attempt- 
ing so  great  a  difficulty,  and  confessed  that  such 
a   thing   was   not  within    the   reach   of  human 
power.°  The   king,   enraged    because,  under  a 
false  profession  of  divmation,  they  were  mocking 
men  with  their  errors,  while  they  were  compelled 
by  the  present  case  to  acknowledge  that  they 
had  no  such  knowledge  as  was  pretended,  made 
an  exposure  of  them  by  means  of  a  royal  edict ; 
and  all  the  men  professing  that  art  were  publicly 
put  to  death.     When  Daniel  heard  of  that,  he 
spoke  to  one  of  those  nearest  to  the  king,  and 
promised  to  give  an  account  of  the  dream,  as 
well  as  supply  its  interpretation.     The  thing  is 
reported   to   the   king,   and   Daniel  is  sent  for. 
The  mystery  had  already  been  revealed  to  him 
by  God  ;   and  so   he  relates   the   vision   of  the 
king,  as  well  as  interprets  it.     But  this  matter 
demands  that  we  set  forth  the  dream   of  the 
king  and  its  interpretation,  along  with  the  fulfill- 
ment of  his  words  by  what  followed.     The  king, 


1  " 


mysterio  futurorum  mirabile." 


98 


THE   WRITINGS    OF    SULPITIUS    SEVERUS. 


then,  had  seen  in  his  sleep  an  image  with  a 
head  of  gold,  with  a  breast  and  arms  of  silver, 
with  a  belly  and  thighs  of  brass,  with  legs  of 
iron,  and  which  in  its  feet  ended  partly  with  iron, 
and  partly  with  clay.  But  the  iron  and  the  clay 
when  blended  together  could  not  adhere  to  each 
other.  At  last,  a  stone  cut  out  without  hands 
broke  the  image  to  pieces,  and  the  whole,  being 
reduced  to  dust,  was  carried  away  by  the  wind. 


CHAPTER   III. 

Accordingly,  as  the  prophet  interpreted  the 
matter,  the  image  which  was  seen  furnished  a 
representation  of  the  world.  The  golden  head 
is  the  empire  of  the  Chaldaeans ;  for  we  have 
understood  that  it  Avas  the  .first  and  wealthiest. 
The  breast  and  the  arms  of  silver  represent  the 
second  kingdom  ;  for  Cyrus,  after  the  Chaldas- 
ans  and  the  Medes  were  conquered,  conferred 
the  empire  on  the  Persians.  In  the  brazen 
belly  it  is  said  that  the  third  sovereignty  was 
indicated ;  and  we  see  that  this  was  fulfilled,  for 
Alexander  took  the  empire  from  the  Persians, 
and  won  the  sovereignty  for  the  Macedonians. 
The  iron  legs  point  to  a  fourth  power,  and  that 
is  understood  of  the  Roman  empire,  which  is 
more  powerful^  than  all  the  kingdoms  which 
were  before  it.  But  the  fact  that  the  feet  were 
partly  of  iron  and  partly  clay,  indicates  that  the 
Roman  empire  is  to  be  divided,  so  as  never  to 
be  united.  This,  too,  has  been  fulfilled,  for  the 
Roman  state  is  ruled  not  by  one  emperor  but 
by  several,  and  these  are  always  quarreling 
among  themselves,  either  in  actual  warfare  or 
by  factions.  Finally,  by  the  clay  and  the  iron 
being  mixed  together,  yet  never  in  their  sub- 
stance thoroughly  uniting,  are  shadowed  forth 
those  future  mixtures  of  the  human  race  which 
disagree  among  themselves,  though  apparently 
combined.  For  it  is  obvious  that  the  Roman 
territory  is  occupied  by  foreign  nations,  or 
rebels,  or  that  it  has  been  given  over  to  those 
who  have  surrendered  themselves  under  an 
appearance  ^  of  peace.  And  it  is  also  evident 
that  barbarous  nations,  and  especially  Jews, 
have  been  commingled  with  our  armies,  cities, 
and  provinces ;  and  we  thus  behold  them  living 
among  us,  yet  by  no  means  agreeing  to  adopt 
our  customs.  And  the  prophets  declare  that 
these  are  the  last  times.  But  in  the  stone  cut 
out  without  hands,  which  broke  to  pieces  the 
gold,  silver,  brass,  iron,  and  clay,  there  is  a 
figure  of  Christ.  For  he,  not  born  under  human 
conditions  (since  he  was  born  not  of  the  will  of 
man,  but  of  the  will  of  God),  will    reduce  to 

'  Such  is  clearly  the  meaning,  but  it  is  strangely  expressed  by 
the  words  "  omnibus  ante  regnis  validissimum." 
2  The  text  is  here  very  uncertain  and  obscure. 


nothing  that  world  in  which  exist  earthly  king- 
doms, and  will  establish  another  kingdom, 
incorruptible  and  everlasting,  that  is,  the  future 
world,  which  is  prepared  for  the  saints.  The 
faith  of  some  still  hesitates  about  this  point  only, 
while  they  do  not  believe  about  things  yet  to 
come,  though  they  are  convinced  of  the  things 
that  are  past.  Daniel,  then,  was  presented  with 
many  gifts  by  the  king,  was  set  over  Babylon 
and  the  whole  empire,  and  was  held  in  the 
highest  honor.  By  his  influence,  Annanias, 
Azarias,  and  Misael,  were  also  advanced  to  the 
highest  dignity  and  power.  About  the  same 
time,  the  remarkable  prophecies  of  Ezekiel 
came  out,  the  mystery  of  future  things  and  of 
the  resurrection "  having  been  revealed  to  him. 
His  book  is  one  of  great  weight,  and  deserves  to 
be  read  with  care. 


CHAPTER   IV. 

But  in  Judsea,  over  which,  as  we  have  related 
above,  Godolia  was  set  after  the  destruction  of 
Jerusalem,  the  Jews  taking  it  very  ill  that  a 
ruler  not  of  the  royal  race  had  been  assigned 
them  by  the  mere  will  of  the  conqueror,  with  a 
certain  Ismael  as  their  leader  and  instigator  of 
the  execrable  conspiracy,  cut  off  Godolia  by 
means  of  treachery  while  he  was  at  a  banquet. 
Those,  however,  who  had  no  part  in  the  plot, 
wishing  to  take  steps  for  avenging  the  deed, 
hastily  take  up  arms  against  Ismael.  But  when 
he  learned  that  destruction  threatened  him, 
leaving  the  army  which  he  had  collected,  and 
with  not  more  than  eight  companions  he  fled  to 
the  Ammonites.  Fear,  therefore,  fell  upon  the 
whole  people,  lest  the  king  of  Babylon  should 
avenge  the  guilt  of  a  few  by  the  destruction  of 
all  ;  for,  in  addition  to  Godolia,  they  had  slain 
many  of  the  Chaldaeans  along  with  him.  They, 
therefore,  form  a  plan  of  fleeing  into  Egypt,  but 
they  first  go  in  a  body  to  Jeremia,  requesting  of 
him  divine  counsel.  He  then  exhorted  them 
all  in  the  words  of  God  to  remain  in  their 
native  country,  telling  them  that  if  they  did  so, 
they  would  be  protected  by  the  power  of  God, 
and  that  no  danger  would  accrue  from  the 
Babylonians,  but  that,  if  they  went  into  Egypt, 
they  would  all  perish  there  by  sword,  and 
famine,  and  different  kinds  of  death.  The 
rabble,  however,  with  the  usual  evil  tendency 
they  show,  being  unaccustomed  to  yield  to 
useful  advice  and  the  divine  power,  did  go  into 
Egypt.  The  sacred  Scriptures  are  silent  as  to 
their  future  fate ;  and  I  have  not  been  able 
to  discover  anything  regarding  it. 


3  "  resurrectionis,"  referring  probably  not  to  the  rising  again  of 
the  dead,  but  to  the  restoration  of  the  Jews.     See  Ezek.  chap.  37. 


THE    SACRED    HISTORY    OF    SULPITIUS    SEVERUS. 


99 


CHAPTER   V. 

At  this  period  of  time,  Nabuchodonosor, 
elated  with  prosperity,  erected  a  golden  statue 
to  himself  of  enormous  size,  and  ordered  it  to 
be  \vorshi])ed  as  a  sacred  image.  And  when 
this  was  zealously  gone  about  by  all,  inasmuch 
as  their  minds  had  been  corrupted  by  the  uni- 
versal flattery  which  prevailed,  Annanias,  Azarias, 
and  Misael  kept  aloof  from  the  profane  observ- 
ance, being  well  aware  that  that  honor  was  due  to 
God  alone.  They  were  therefore,  according  to 
an  edict  of  the  king,  regarded  as  criminals,  and 
there  was  set  before  them,  as  the  means  of 
punishment,  a  fiery  furnace,  in  order  that,  by 
present  terror,  they  might  be  compelled  to 
worship  the  statue.  But  they  preferred  to  be 
swallowed  up  by  the  flames  rather  than  to  com- 
mit such  a  sin.  Accordingly,  they  were  bound, 
and  cast  into  the  midst  of  the  fire.  But  the 
flames  laid  hold  of  the  agents  in  this  execrable 
work,  as  they  were  forcing,  with  all  eagerness,  the 
victims  into  the  fire  ;  while  —  wonderful  to  say, 
and  indeed  incredible  to  all  but  eye-witnesses  — 
the  fire  did  not  touch  the  Hebrews  at  all.  They 
were  seen  by  the  spectators  walking  in  the  midst 
of  the  furnace,  and  singing  a  song  of  praise  to 
God,  while  there  was  also  beheld  along  with 
them  a  fourth  person  having  the  appearance  of 
an  angel,  and  whom  Nabuchodonosor,  on  obtain- 
ing a  nearer  view  of  him,  acknowledged  to  be 
the'  Son  of  God.  Then  the  king  having  no 
doubt  that  the  divine  power  was  present  in  the 
event  which  had  taken  place,  sent  proclamations 
throughout  his  whole  kingdom  making  known 
the  miracle  which  had  taken  place,  and  confess- 
ing that  honor  was  to  be  paid  to  God  alone. 
Not  long  after,  being  instructed  by  a  vision 
which  presented  itself  to  him,  and  presently  also 
by  a  voice  which  reached  him  from  heaven,  he 
is  said  to  have  done  penance  by  laying  aside  his 
kingly  power,  retiring  from  all  intercourse  with 
mankind,  and  to  have  sustained  life  by  herbs 
alone.  However,  his  empire  was  kept  for  him 
by  the  will  of  God,  undl  the  time  was  fulfilled, 
and  at  length  duly  acknowledging  God,  he  was, 
after  seven  years,  restored  to  his  kingdom  and 
former  position.  He  is  related,  after  having 
conquered  Sedechia  (whom  he  carried  away 
captive  to  Babylon),  as  we  have  said  above,  to 
have  reigned  twenty-six  years,  although  I  do  not 
find  that  recorded  in  the  sacred  history.  But  it 
has  perhaps  happened  that,  while  I  was  engaged 
in  searching  out  many  points,  I  found  this  re- 
mark in  the  work  of  some  anonymous  author 
\yhich  had  become  interpolated  in  course  of 
time,  and  in  which  the  dates  of  the  Babylonish 
kings  were  contained.     I  did  not  think  it  right 


'  Or,  "  confessed  that  he  had  seen  a  son  of  God." 


to  pass  the  remark  unnoticed,  since  it  does  in 
fact  harmonize  with  the  Chronicles,  and  dius  its 
account  agrees  with  us,  to  the  effect  that, 
through  the  succession  of  the  kings,  whose  dates 
the  record  contained,  it  completed  seventy  years 
up  to  the  first  year  of  king  Cyrus,  and  such  in 
fact  is  the  number  of  years  which  is  stated  in 
the  sacred  history  to  have  elapsed  from  the  cap- 
tivity up  to  the  time  of  Cyrus. 


CHAPTER   VI. 

After  Nabuchodonosor,  the  kingdom  fell  to 
his  son,  whom  I  find  called  Euilmarodac  in  the 
Chronicles.  He  died  in  the  twelfth  year  of  his 
reign,  and  made  room  for  his  younger  brother, 
who  was  called  Balthasar.  He,  when  in  the 
fourteenth  year  he  gave  a  public  feast  to  his 
chief  men  and  rulers,  ordered  the  sacred  vessels 
(which  had  been  taken  away  by  Nabuchodo- 
nosor from  the  temple  at  Jerusalem,  yet  had  not 
been  employed  for  any  uses  of  the  king,  but 
were  kept  laid  up  in  the  treasury)  to  be  brought 
forth.  And  when  all  persons,  both  of  the  male 
and  female  sex,  with  his  wives  and  concubines, 
were  using  these  amid  the  luxury  and  licentious- 
ness of  a  royal  banquet,  suddenly  the  king  ob- 
served fingers  writing  upon  the  wall,  and  the 
letters  were  perceived  to  be  formed  into  words.-' 
But  no  one  could  be  found  who  was  able  to  read 
the  writing.  The  king,  therefore,  in  perturba- 
tion called  for  the  magi  and  the  Chaldseans. 
When  these  simply  muttered  among  themselves 
and  answered  nothing,  the  queen  reminded  the 
king  that  there  was  a  certain  Hebrew,  Daniel  by 
name,  who  had  formerly  revealed  to  Nabucho- 
donosor a  dream  containing  a  secret  mystery, 
and  had  then,  on  account  of  his  remarkable  wis- 
dom, been  promoted  to  the  highest  honors. 
Accordingly,  he,  being  sent  for,  read  and  inter- 
preted the  writing,  to  the  effect  that,  on  account 
of  the  sin  of  the  king,  who  had  profaned  vessels 
sacred  to  God,  destruction  impended  over  him, 
and  that  his  kingdom  was  given  to  the  IMedes 
and  Persians.  And  this  presently  took  place. 
For,  on  the  same  night,  Balthasar  perished,  and 
Darius,  a  Mede  by  nation,  took  possession  of  his 
kingdom.  He  again,  finding  that  Daniel  was 
held  in  the  highest  reputation,  placed  him  at 
the  head  of  the  whole  empire,  in  this  following 
the  judgment  of  the  kings  who  had  preceded 
him.  For  Nabuchodonosor  had  also  set  him 
over  the  kidgdom,  and  Balthasar  had  presented 
him  with  a  purple  robe  and  a  golden  chain, 
while  he  also  constituted  him  the  third  ruler  in 
the  kingdom. 


1  "in  versum  ductae  literae":  various  emendations  have  been 
proposed,  but  the  text  may  stand.  The  meanin.s  appears  to  be  that 
the  letters  were  not  thrown  together  at  random,  but  so  placed  as  to 
form  words. 


lOO 


THE   WRITINGS    OF    SULPITIUS    SEVERUS. 


CHAPTER  VII. 

Those,  therefore,  who  were  possessed  of  power 
along  with  him,  stimulated  by  envy,  because  a 
foreigner  belonging  to  a  captive  nation  had  been 
placed  on  a  footing  of  equality  with  them,  con- 
strain the  king,  who  had  been  corrupted  by  flat- 
tery, to  enact  that  divine  honors  should  be  paid 
to  him  for  the  next  thirty  days,  and  that  it  should 
not  be  lawful  for  any  one  to  pray  to  a  god  except 
the  king.  Darius  was  easily  persuaded  to  that, 
through  the  folly  of  all  kings  who  claim  for 
themselves  divine  honors.  In  these  circum- 
stances, Daniel  being  not  unacquainted  with 
what  had  happened,  and  not  being  ignorant  that 
prayer  ought  to  be  addressed  to  God,  and  not  to 
man,  is  accused  of  not  having  obeyed  the  king's 
commandment.  And  much  against  the  will  of 
Darius,  to  whom  he  had  always  been  dear  and 
acceptable,  the  rulers  prevailed  that  he  should 
be  let  down  into  a  den.^  But  no  harm  came  to 
him  when  thus  exposed  to  the  wild  beasts.  And 
on  the  king  discovering  this,  he  ordered  his  ac- 
cusers to  be  given  over  to  the  lions.  They,  how- 
ever, did  not  pass  through  a  similar  experience, 
for  they  were  instantly  devoured  to  satisfy  the 
hunger  of  the  savage  beasts.  Daniel,  who  had 
been  famous  before,  was  now  esteemed  still 
more  famous  ;  and  the  king,  repealing  his  for- 
mer edict,  issued  a  new  one  to  the  effect  that, 
all  errors  and  superstitions  being  abandoned,  the 
God  of  Daniel  was  to  be  worshiped.  There 
exists  also  a  record  of  visions  of  Daniel,  in 
which  he  revealed  the  order  of  events  in  com- 
ing ages,  embracing  in  them  also  the  number  of 
the  years,  within  which  he  announced  that  Christ 
would  descend  to  earth  (as  has  taken  place), 
and  clearly  set  forth  the  future  coming  of  Anti- 
christ. If  any  one  is  eager  to  inquire  into  these 
points,  he  will  find  them  more  fully  treated  of  in 
the  book  of  Daniel  :  our  design  is  simply  to 
present  a  connected  statement  of  events.  Darius 
is  related  to  have  reigned  eighteen  years  ;  after 
which  date  Astyages  began  to  rule  over  the 
Medes. 


CHAPTER   VIII. 

HiJNi  Cyrus,  his  grandson  by  his  daughter,  ex- 
pelled from  the  kingdom,  having  used  the  arms 
of  the  Persians  for  the  purpose  ;  and  hence  the 
chief  power  was  transferred  to  the  Persians. 
The  Babylonians  also  fell  under  his  power  and 
government.  It  happened  at  the  beginning  of 
his  reign  that,  by  the  issue  of  public  edicts,  he 
gave  permission  to  the  Jews  to  return  into  their 
own  country ;  and  he  also  restored  the  sacred 

'  "  lacum  " :  twice  used  before  in  the  sense  of  />tt. 


vessels  which  Nabuchodonosor  had  carried  away 
from  the  temple  at  Jerusalem.     Accordingly,  a 
few  then  returned  into  Judaea ;  as  to  the  others, 
we  have  not  been  able  to  discover  whetlier  the 
desire  of  returning,  or  the  power  of  doing  so, 
was  wanting.     There  was  at  that   time  among 
the  Babylonians  a  brazen  image  of  Belus,  a  very 
ancient  king,  whom  Virgil  also  has  mentioned.^ 
This  having  been  deemed  sacred  by  the  super- 
stition of  the  people,  Cyrus  also  had  been  ac- 
customed  to   worship,   being   deceived   by  the 
trickery  of  its  priests.     They  affirmed  that  the 
image    ate    and    drank,   while    they    themselves 
secretly  carried  off  the  daily  portion  which  w^as 
offered  to  the  idol.     Cyrus,  then,  being  on  inti- 
mate terms  with  Daniel,  asked  him  why  he  did 
not  worship  the   image,  since  it  was  a  manifest 
symbol  of  the  living  God,  as  consuming  those 
things  which  were  offered  to  it.     Daniel,  laugh- 
ing at  the  mistake  of  the  man,  replied  that  it 
could  not  possibly  be  the  case,  that  that  work 
of  brass  —  mere  insensate    matter  —  could  use 
either  meat  or  drink.     The  king,  therefore,  or- 
dered the  priests  to  be  called  (they  were  about 
seventy   in   number)  ;    and,   bringing    terror  to 
bear  upon  them,  he  reprovingly  asked  them  who 
WMS  in  the  way  of  consuming  what  was  oftered, 
since  Daniel,  a  man  distinguished  for  his  wis- 
dom, maintained  that  that  could  not  be  done  by 
an  insensate  image.     Then  they,  trusting  in  their 
ready-made  trick,  ordered  the  usual  offering  to 
be  made,  and  the  temple  to  be  sealed  up  by  the 
king,  on  the  understanding  that,  unless  on  the 
following  day  the  whole  oflering  were  found  to 
have  been  consumed,  they  should  suffer  death, 
while,   on  the   opposite   being   discovered,    the 
same    fate    awaited    Daniel.      Accordingly,   the 
temple  was  sealed  up  by  the  signet  of  the  king ; 
but  Daniel  had  j^reviously,  without  the  knowl- 
edge of  the  priests,  covered  the  floor  of  it  with 
ashes,  so  that  their  footprints  might  betray  the 
clandestine  approaches   of  those  who   entered. 
The  king,  then,  having  entered  the  temple  on 
the  following  day,  perceived   that  those  things 
had  been  taken  away,  which  he  had  ordered  to 
be  served  up  to  the  idol.    Then  Daniel  lays  open 
the    secret    fraud    by  the    betraying    footprints, 
showing  that  the  priests,  with   their  wives  and 
children,    had    entered   the    temple    by  a   hole 
opened   from   below,   and   had  devoured   those 
things  which  w'cre  served  up  to  the  idol.     Ac- 
cordingly, all  of  them  were  put  to  death  by  the 
order  of  the  king,  while  the  temple  and  image 
were    submitted  to   the   power   of  Daniel,   and 
were  destroyed  at  his  command. 


'  The  reference  is  to  .^ii.  I.  729,  but  Sigoniiis  and  others  have 
suspected  the  words  as  being  a  gloss.  They  are,  liowever,  probably 
genuine.     \'irgii's  words  are, — 

"  Hie  regina  gravem  gemmis  aurocjue  poposcit 
Implevitque  nicro  paternani,  quam  Behis  et  omnes 
A  lielo  soliti;   tuni  facta  silentia  tectis." 


THE    SACRED    HISTORY   OF    SULPITIUS   SEVERUS. 


lOI 


CHAPTER   IX. 

Is  the  meantime,  those  Jews,  who,  as  we  have 
said  above,   returned   into  their  native   land  by 
the  permission  of  Cyrus,  attempted  to  restore 
their  city  and  temple.     But,  being  few  and  poor, 
they  made  but  little   progress,  until,  at  last,  after 
the  lapse  of  about  a  hundred  years,  while  Arta- 
xerxes  the  king   ruled   over  the  Persians,  they 
were  absolutely  deterred  from  building  by  those 
who  had  local   authority.      For,   at  that   time, 
Syria  and  all  Judsea  was  ruled  under  the  empire 
of  the  Persians   by   magistrates   and   governors. 
Accordingly,  these  took  counsel  to  write  to  king 
Artaxerxes,  that  it  was  not  fitting  that  opportu- 
nity should  be  granted  to  the  Jews  of  rebuilding 
their  city,  lest,  in  accordance  with  their  stubborn 
character,  and  being   accustomed   to   rule  over 
other  nations,  they  should,  on  recovering  their 
strength,  not  submit  to  live  under  the  sway  of  a 
foreign  power.      Thus,   the   plan   of  the  rulers 
being  approved  of  by  the  king,  the  building  of 
the  city  was  put  a  stop  to,  and  delayed  until  the 
second  year  of  Darius  the  king.     But,  who  were 
kings  of  Persia  throughout  this  period  of  time, 
we  shall  here  insert,  in  order  that  the  succession 
of  the  dates  may  be  set  forth  in  a  regular  and 
fixed  order.     Well,  then,  after  Darius  the  Mede, 
who,  as  we  have  said  above,  reigned  eighteen 
years,  Cyrus  held  the  supreme  power  for  thirty- 
one  years.     While  making  war  upon  the  Scyth- 
ians, he  fell  in  battle,  in  the  second  year  after 
Tarquinius  Superbus  began  to  reign  at  Rome. 
To   Cyrus    succeeded   his    son   Cambyses,  and 
reigned   eight   years.     He,  after  harassing  with 
war   Egypt   and   Ethiopia,  and  subduing  these 
countries,  returned  as  victor  to  Persia,  but  acci- 
dentally hurt  himself,  and  died  from  that  wound. 
After  his  death,  two  brothers,  who  were  magi, 
and  Medes  by  nation,  held  rule  over  the  Per- 
sians for  seven  months.     To  slay  these,  seven 
of  the  most  noble  of  the  Persians  formed  a  con- 
spiracy, of  whom  the  leader  was  Darius,  the  son 
of  Hystaspes,  who  was  a  cousin  of  Cyrus,  and 
by  unanimous  consent  the  kingdom  was  bestowed 
on  him  :  he  reigned  thirty  and  six  years.     He, 
four  years  before  his  death,  fought  at  Marathon, 
in  a  battle  greatly  celebrated  both  in  Greek  and 
Roman  history.     That  took  place  about  the  two 
hundred  and  sixtieth  year  after  the  founding  of 
Rome,    while    Macerinus   and   Augurinus   were 
consuls,  that  is,  eight  hundred  and  eighty-eight 
years  ago,  provided  the  research  I  have  made 
into  the  succession  of  Roman  consuls  does  not 
deceive  me  ;  for  I  have  made  the  entire  reckon- 
ing down  to  the  time  of  Stilico.^     After  Darius 
came    Xerxes,  and   he   is   said  to  have  reigned 
twenty-one   years,  although   I   have   found   that 

1  Stilico  was  consul  during  the  lifetime  of  Sulpitius. 


the  length  of  his  rule  is,  in  most  copies,-  set 
down  at  twenty  and  five  years.  To  him  suc- 
ceeded Artaxerxes,  of  whom  we  have  made 
mention  above.  Since  he  ordered  the  building 
of  the  Jewish  city  and  temple  to  be  stopped, 
the  work  was  suspended  to  the  second  year  of 
king  Darius.  But  that  the  succession  of  dates 
may  be  completed  up  to  him,  I  have  to  state 
that  Artaxerxes  reigned  forty-one  years,  Xerxes 
two  months,  and  that,  after  him,  Sucdianus 
ruled  for  seven  months. 


CHAPTER   X. 

Next,  Darius,  under  whom  the  temple  was 
restored,  obtained  the  kingdom,  his  name  being 
at    that    time    Ochus.     He   had   three   Hebrew 
youths  of  tried  fidelity  as  his  body-guard,  and 
one  of  these  had,  from  the  proof  of  his  prudence 
which  he  had  given,  attracted  towards  himself 
the  admiration  of  the  king.     The  choice,  then, 
being  given  him  of  asking  for  anything  which 
he  had  formed  a  desire  for  in  his  heart,  groaning 
over  the  ruins  of  his  country,  he  begged  permis- 
sion to  restore  the  city,  and  obtained  an  order 
from  the  king  to  urge  the  lieutenants  and  rulers 
to  hurry  forward  the  building  of  the  holy  temple, 
and  furnish  the   expense  needful   to  that  end. 
Accordingly,  the  temple  was  completed  in  four 
years ;   that  is,  in   the   sixth   year   after   Darius 
began  to  reign,  and  that  seemed,  for  the  time, 
enough  to  the  people  of  the  Jews.     For,  as  it 
was  a  work  of  great  labor  to  restore  the  city, 
distrusting   their   own  resources,   they   did  not 
venture  at  the  time  to  begin  an  undertaking  of 
so  great  difficulty,  but  were  content  with  having 
rebuilt  the  temple.     At  the  same  time,  Esdras 
the   scribe,  who   was  skilled   in  the  law,  about 
twenty  years  after  the  temple  had  been  com- 
pleted (Darius  being  now  dead  who  had  pos- 
sessed the  sovereignty  for  nineteen  years),  by 
the  permission  of  Artaxerxes  the  second  (not  he 
who  had  a  place  between  the  two  Xerxes,  but 
he  who  had  succeeded  to  Darius   Ochus),  set 
out  from  Babylon  with  many  following  him,  and 
they  carried  to  Jerusalem  the  vessels  of  various 
workmanship,  as  well  as  the  gifts  which  the  king 
had  sent  for  the  temple  of  God.     Along  with 
them  were  but  twelve  Levites  ;  for  with  difficulty 
that  number  of  the  tribe  is  related  then  to  have 
been  found.     He,  having  found   that  the  Jews 
had  united  in  marriage  with  the  Gentiles,  rebuked 
them    severely   on    that    account,   and    ordered 
them  to  renounce  all  connections  of  that  kind, 
as  well  as  to  put  away  the  children  which  had 
been  the  issue  of  such  marriages  ;  and  all  yielded 
obedience  to  his  word.     The  people,  then,  being 


2  "in   plerisque  exemplaribus  ":   the  MSS.  varj'ing,  as  they  so 
often  do,  with  respect  to  numbers. 


I02 


THE   WRITINGS    OF    SULPITIUS    SEVERUS. 


sanctified,  performed  the  rites  sanctioned  by 
the  ancient  law.  But  I  do  not  find  that  Esdras 
did  anything  with  the  view  of  restoring  the 
city ;  because  he  thought,  as  I  imagine,  that  a 
more  urgent  duty  was  to  reform  the  people 
from  the  corrupt  habits  which  they  had  con- 
tracted 


CHAPTER  XL 

There  was  at  that  time  at  Babylon  one  Nehe- 
miah,  a  servant  of  the  king,  a  Jew  by  birth,  and 
very  much  beloved  by  Artaxerxes  on  account  of 
the  services  he  had  rendered.  He,  having  in- 
quired of  his  fellow-countrymen  the  Jews,  what 
was  the  condition  of  their  ancestral  city ;  and 
having  learned  that  his  native  land  remained  in 
the  same  fallen  condition  as  before,  is  said  to 
have  been  disturbed  with  all  his  heart,  and 
to  have  prayed  to  God  with  groans  and  many 
tears.  He  also  called  to  mind  the  sins  of  his 
nation,  and  urgently  entreated  the  divine  com- 
passion. Accordingly,  the  king  noticing  that  he, 
while  waiting  at  table,  seemed  more  sorrowful 
than  usual,  asked  him  to  explain  the  reasons  of 
his  grief.  Then  he  began  to  bewail  the  misfor- 
tunes of  his  nation,  and  the  ruin  of  his  ancestral 
city,  which  now,  for  almost  two  hundred  and  fifty 
years,  being  leveled  with  the  ground,  fiirnished 
a  proof  of  the  evils  which  had  been  endured, 
and  a  gazing-stock  to  their  enemies.  He  there- 
fore begged  the  king  to  grant  him  the  hberty 
of  going  and  restoring  it.  The  king  yielded  to 
these  dutiful  entreaties,  and  immediately  sent 
him  away  with  a  guard  of  cavalry,  that  he  might 
the  more  safely  accomplish  his  journey,  giving 
him,  at  the  same  time,  letters  to  the  rulers  re- 
questing them  to  furnish  him  with  all  that  was 
necessary.  When  he  arrived  at  Jerusalem,  he 
distributed  the  work  connected  with  the  city  to 
the  people,  man  by  man ;  and  all  vied  with  each 
other  in  carrying  out  the  orders  which  they 
received.  And  already  the  work  of  rebuilding  ' 
had  been  half  accomplished,  when  the  jealousy 
of  the  surrounding  heathen  burst  out,  and  the 
neighboring  cities  conspired  to  interrupt  the 
works,  and  to  deter  the  Jews  from  building. 
But  Nehemiah,  having  stationed  guards  against 
those  making  assaults  upon  the  people,  was  in 
no  degree  alarmed,  and  carried  out  what  he 
had  begun.  And  thus,  after  the  wall  was  com- 
pleted, and  the  entrances  of  the  gates  finished, 
he  measured  out  the  city  for  the  construction 
by  families  of  houses  within  it.  He  reckoned, 
also,  that  the  people  were  not  adequate  in  num- 
bers to  the  size  of  the  city ;  for  there  were  not 
more  of  them  than  fifty  thousand  of  both  sexes 

'  "jamquc  ad  medium  machinse  proccsserant." 


and  of  all  ranks  —  to  such  an  extent  had  their 
formerly  enormous  numbers  been  reduced  by 
frequent  wars,  and  by  the  multitude  kept  in 
captivity.  For,  of  old,  those  two  tribes,  of 
whom  the  remaining  people  were  all  that  sur- 
vived, had,  when  the  ten  tribes  were  separated 
from  them,  been  able  to  furnish  three  hundred 
and  twenty  thousand  armed  men.  But  being 
given  up  by  God,  on  account  of  their  sin,  to 
death  and  captivity,  they  had  sunk  down  to  the 
miserably  small  number  which  they  now  pre- 
sented. This  company,  however,  as  I  have 
said,  consisted  only  of  the  two  tribes  :  the  ten  ^ 
which  had  previously  been  carried  away  being 
scattered  among  the  Parthians,  Medes,  Indians, 
and  Ethiopians  never  returned  to  their  native 
country,  and  are  to  this  day  held  under  the 
sway  of  barbarous  nations.  But  the  completion 
of  the  restored  city  is  related  to  have  been 
effected  in  the  thirty-second  year  of  the  reign 
of  Artaxerxes.  From  that  time  to  the  crucifixion 
of  Christ ;  that  is,  to  the  time  when  Fufius  Gem- 
inus  and  Rubellius  were  consuls,  there  elapsed 
three  hundred  and  ninety  and  eight  years.  But 
from  the  restoration  of  the  temple  to  its  de- 
struction, which  was  completed  by  Titus  under 
Vespasian,  when  Augustus  was  consul,  there  was 
a  period  of  four  hundred  and  eighty-three  years. 
That  was  formerly  predicted  by  Daniel,  who 
announced  that  from  the  restoration  of  the 
temple  to  its  overthrow  there  would  elapse 
seventy  and  nine  weeks.  Now,  from  the  date 
of  the  captivity  of  the  Jews  until  the  time  of  the 
restoration  of  the  city,  there  were  two  hundred 
and  sixty  years. 


CHAPTER   Xn. 

At  this  period  of  time  we  think  Esther  and 
Judith  lived,  but  I  confess  that  I  cannot  easily 
perceive  with  what  kings  especially  I  should 
connect  the  actions  of  their  lives.  For,  while 
Esther  is  said  to  have  lived  under  King  Arta- 
xerxes, I  find  that  there  were  two  Persian  kings 
of  that  name,  and  there  is  much  hesitation  in 
concluding  to  which  of  these  her  date  is  to  be 
assigned.  However,  it  has  seemed  preferable 
to  me  to  connect  the  history  of  Esther  with 
that  Artaxerxes  under  whom  Jerusalem  was 
restored,  because  it  is  not  likely  that,  if  she  had 
lived  under  the  former  Artaxerxes,  whose  times 
Esdras  has  given  an  account  of,  he  would  have 
made  no  mention  of  such  an  illustrious  woman. 
This  is  all  the  more  convincing  since  we  know 

'  Our  author  here  touches  upon  a  most  interesting  question  — 
the  ultimate  destiny  of  the  ten  tribes.  He  seems  to  imply  that  none 
of  them  returned  to  Palestine,  but  were  wholly  absorbed  among  the 
Gentile  nations.  'I'hat,  however,  cannot  be  correct,  for  it  was  still 
possible,  in  the  time  of  Christ,  to  speak  of  some  as  connected  with 
the  tribe  of  Asher,  one  of  the  ten  tribes.     See  Luke  ii.  36. 


THE   SACRED    HISTORY    OF   SULPITIUS    SEVERUS. 


103 


that  the  building  of  the  temple  was  (as  we  have 
related  above)  prohibited  by  that  Artaxerxes, 
and  Esther  would  not  have  allowed  that  had 
she  then  been  united  with  him  in  marriage. 
But  I  will  now  repeat  what  things  she  accom- 
plished. There  was  at  that  time  a  certain 
Vastis  connected  with  the  king  in  marriage,  a 
woman  of  marvelous  beauty.  Being  accus- 
tomed to  extol  her  loveliness  to  all,  he  one  day, 
when  he  was  giving  a  public  entertainment, 
ordered  the  queen  to  attend  for  the  purpose  of 
exhibiting  her  beauty.  But  she,  more  prudent 
than  the  foolish  king,  and  being  too  modest  to 
make  a  show  of  her  person  before  the  eyes  of 
men,  refused  compliance  with  his  orders.  His 
savage  mind  was  enraged  by  this  insult,  and  he 
drove  her  forth,  both  from  her  condition  of 
marriage  with  him  and  from  the  palace.  Con- 
sequently, when  a  young  woman  was  sought 
after  to  take  her  place  as  the  wife  of  the  king, 
Esther  was  found  to  excel  all  others  in  beauty. 
She  being  a  Jewess  of  the  tribe  of  Benjamin, 
and  an  orphan,  without  father  or  mother,  had 
been  brought  up  by  her  cousin-german,^  Mar- 
dochseus.  On  being  espoused  to  the  king,  she, 
by  the  instructions  of  him  who  had  brought  her 
up,  concealed  her  nation  and  fatherland,  and 
was  also  admonished  by  him  not  to  become 
forgetful  of  her  ancestral  traditions,  nor,  though 
as  a  captive  she  had  entered  into  marriage  with 
a  foreigner,  to  take  part  in  the  food  of  the 
heathen.  Thus,  then,  being  united  to  the  king, 
she,  in  a  short  time,  as  was  to  be  expected, 
easily  captivated  his  whole  mind  by  the  power 
of  her  beauty,  so  that,  equalizing  her  with  him- 
self in  the  emblem  of  sovereign  power,  he  pre- 
sented her  with  a  purple  robe. 


CHAPTER   Xni. 

At  this  time,  Mardochaeus  was  among  those 
nearest  to  the  king,  having  entirely  under  his 
charge  the  affairs  of  the  household.  He  had 
made  known  to  the  king  a  plot  which  had  been 
formed  by  two  eunuchs,  and,  on  that  account, 
had  become  a  greater  favorite,  while  he  was  pre- 
sented mth  the  highest  honors.  There  was  at 
that  period  one  Haman,  a  very  confidential 
friend  of  the  king,  whom  he  had  made  equal  to 
himself  and,  after  the  manner  of  sovereign  rulers, 
had  ordered  to  be  worshiped.  Mardochaeus 
being  the  one  man  among  all  who  refused  to  do 
that,  had  greatly  kindled  the  wrath  of  the  Per- 
sian against  himself.  Accordingly,  Haman  set- 
ting his  mind  to  work  the  ruin  of  the  Hebrew, 
went  to  the  king,  and  affirmed  that  there  was  in 

'  "  patruele  patre":  words  which  have  much  perplexed  the 
editors. 


his  kingdom  a  race  of  men  of  wicked  su]iersti- 
tions,  and  hateful  alike  to  God  and  men.  He 
said  that,  as  they  lived  according  to  foreign  laws, 
they  deserved  to  be  destroyed  ;  and  that  it  was 
a  righteous  thing  to  hand  over  the  whole  of  this 
nation  to  death.  At  the  same  time,  he  promised 
the  king  immense  wealth  out  of  their  posses- 
sions. The  barbarous  prince  was  easily  per- 
suaded, and  an  edict  was  issued  for  the  slaughter 
of  the  Jews,  while  men  were  at  once  sent  out  to 
publish  it  through  the  whole  kingdom  from 
India  even  to  Ethiopia.  When  Mardochjeus 
heard  of  thisj  he  rent  his  clothes,  clothed  him- 
self in  sackcloth,  scattered  ashes  upon  his  head, 
and,  going  to  the  palace,  he  there  made  the 
whole  place  resound  with  his  wailing  and  com- 
plaints, crying  out  that  it  was  an  unworthy  thing 
that  an  innocent  nation  should  perish,  while 
there  existed  no  ground  for  its  destruction. 
Esther's  attention  was  attracted  by  the  voice  of 
lamentation,  and  she  learned  how  the  case  really 
stood.  But  she  was  then  at  a  loss  what  step  she 
should  take  (for,  according  to  the  custom  of  the 
Persians,  the  queen  is  not  permitted  access  to 
the  king,  unless  she  has  been  sent  for,  and 
indeed  is  not  admitted  at  any  time  the  king 
may  please,  but  only  at  a  fixed  period)  ;  and  it 
happened  at  the  time,  that  by  this  rule,  Esther 
was  held  as  separated  from  the  presence  of  the 
king  for  the  next  thirty  days.  However,  think- 
ing that  she  ought  to  run  some  risk  in  behalf  of 
her  fellow-countrymen,  even  should  sure  destruc- 
tion await  her,  she  was  prepared  to  encounter 
death  in  such  a  noble  cause,  and,  after  having 
called  upon  God,  she  entered  the  court  of  the 
king.  But  the  barbarian,  though  at  first  amazed 
at  this  unusual  occurrence,  was  gradually  won 
over  by  female  blandishments,  and  at  length 
went  so  far  as  to  accompany  the  queen  to  a  ban- 
quet which  she  had  prepared.  Along  with  him 
also  went  Haman,  the  favorite  of  the  king,  but 
a  deadly  enemy  of  the  nation  of  the  Jews. 
Well,  when  after  the  feasting  the  banquet  began 
to  become  jovial  through  the  many  cups  which 
were  drank,  Esther  cast  herself  down  at  the 
knees  of  the  king,  and  implored  him  to  stay  the 
destruction  which  threatened  her  nation.  Then 
the  king  promised  to  refuse  nothing  to  her 
entreaties,  if  she  had  any  further  request  to 
make.  Esther  at  once  seized  the  opportunity, 
and  demanded  the  death  of  Haman  as  a  satis- 
faction to  her  nation,  which  he  had  desired  to 
see  destroyed.  But  the  king  could  not  forget 
his  friend,  and  hesitating  a  little,  he  withdrew 
for  a  short  time  for  the  purpose  of  considering 
the  matter.  He  then  returned,  and  when  he 
saw  Haman  grasping  the  knees  of  the  queen, 
excited  with  rage,  and,  crying  out  that  violence 
was  being  applied  to  the  queen,  he  ordered  him 
to  be  put  to  death.     It  then  came  to  the  knowl- 


I04 


THE   WRITINGS   OF    SULPITIUS   SEVERUS. 


edge  of  the  king  that  a  cross'  had  been  got 
ready  by  Haman  on  which  Mardochseus  was  to 
suffer.  Thus,  Hauian  was  fixed  to  that  very 
cross,  and  all  his  goods  were  handed  over  to 
Mardochaeus,  while  the  Jews  at  large  were  set 
free.  Artaxerxes  reigned  sixty  and  two  years, 
and  was  succeeded  by  Ochus. 


CHAPTER  XIV. 

To  this  series  of  events  it  will  be  right  that 
I  should  append  an  account  of  the  doings  of 
Judith  ;  for  she  is  related  "to  have  lived  after  the 
captivity,  but  the  sacred  history  has  not  revealed 
who  was  king  of  the  Persians  in  her  day.  It, 
however,  calls  the  king  under  whom  her  exploits 
were  performed  by  the  name  of  Nabuchodo- 
nosor,  and  that  was  certainly  not  the  one  who 
took  Jerusalem.  But  I  do  not  find  that  any  one 
of  that  name  reigned  over  the  Persians  after  the 
captivity,  unless  it  be  that,  on  account  of  the ' 
wrath  and  like  endeavors  which  he  manifested, 
any  king  acting  so  was  styled  Nabuchodonosor 
by  the  Jews.  Most  persons,  however,  think  that 
it  was  Cambyses,  the  son  of  Cyrus,  on  this 
ground  that  he,  as  a  conqueror,  penetrated  into 
Egypt  and  Ethiopia.  But  the  sacred  history  is 
opposed  to  this  opinion  ;  for  Judith  is  described 
as  having  lived  in  the  twelfth  year  of  the  king  in 
question.  Now,  Cambyses  did  not  possess  the 
supreme  power  for  more  than  eight  years. 
Wherefore,  if  it  is  allowable  to  make  a  conjec- 
ture on  a  point  of  history,  I  should  be  inclined 
to  believe  that  her  exploits  were  performed 
under  king  Ochus,  who  came  after  the  second 
Artaxerxes.  I  found  this  conjecture  on  the 
fact  that  (as  I  have  read  in  profane  histories) 
he  is  related  to  have  been  by  nature  cruel  and 
fond  of  war.  For  he  both  engaged  in  hostilities 
with  his  neighbors,  and  recovered  by  wars  Egypt, 
which  had  revolted  many  years  before.  At  that 
time,  also,  he  is  related  to  have  ridiculed  the 
sacred  rites  of  the  Egyptians  and  Apis,  who 
was  regarded  by  them  as  a  god  ;  a  thing  which 
Baguas,  one  of  his  eunuchs,  an  Egyptian  by 
nation,  and  indignant  at  the  king's  conduct, 
afterwards  avenged  by  the  death  of  the  king, 
considering  that  the  king  had  insulted  the  race 
to  which  he  belonged.  Now,  the  inspired"  his- 
tory makes  mention  of  this  Baguas ;  for,  when 
Holofernes  by  the  order  of  the  king  led  an 
army  against  the  Jews,  it  has  related  that  Baguas 
was  among  the  host.  Wherefore,  not  without 
reason  may  I  bring  it  forward  in  proof  of  the 
opinion   I    have    expressed  that  that  king  who 

'  "  prenam  cnicis  " :  after  the  Greek. 
•  The  text  is  here  uncertain. 

'  "  histnria   divina  "  :    the  writer  applies   these  words    to  the 
book  of  Judith. 


was  named  Nabuchodonosor  was  really  Ochus, 
since  profane  historians  have  related  that  Baguas 
lived  in  his  reign.  But  this  ought  not  to  be 
felt  at  all  remarkable  by  any  one,  that  mere 
worldly  writers  have  not  touched  on  any  of 
those  points  which  are  recorded  in  the  sacred 
writings.  The  spirit  of  God  thus  took  care  that 
the  history  should  be  strictly  confined  within  its 
own  mysteries,  unpolluted  by  any  corrupt  mouth, 
or  that  which  mingled  truth  with  fiction.  That 
history  being,  in  fact,  separated  from  the  affairs 
of  the  world,  and  of  a  kind  to  be  expressed  only 
in  sacred  words,  clearly  ought  not  to  have  been 
mixed  up  with  other  histories,  as  being  on  a 
footing  of  equality  with  them.  For  it  would 
have  been  most  unbecoming  that  this  history 
should  be  commingled  with  others  treating  of 
other  things,  or  pursuing  different  inquiries.  But 
I  will  now  proceed  to  what  remains,  and  will 
narrate  in  as  few  words  as  I  can  the  acts  per- 
formed by  Judith. 


CHAPTER  XV. 

The  Jews,  then,  having  returned,  as  we  have 
narrated  above,  to  their  native  land,  and  the 
condition  of  their  affairs  and  of  their  city  being 
not  yet  properly  settled,  the  king  of  the  Persians 
made  war  on  the  Medes,  and  engaged  in  a  suc- 
cessful battle  against  their  king,  who  >vas  named 
Arphaxad.  That  monarch  being  slain,  he  added 
the  nation  to  his  empire.  He  did  the  same  to 
other  nations,  having  sent  before  him  Holofernes 
whom  he  had  appointed  master  of  his  host,  with 
a  hundred  and  twenty  thousand  foot-soldiers, 
and  twelve  thousand  cavalry.  He,  after  having 
ravaged  in  war,  Cilicia  and  Arabia,  .took  many 
cities  by  force,  or  compelled  them  through  fear 
to  surrender.  And  now  the  army,  having  moved 
on  to  Damascus,  had  struck  the  Jews  with  great 
terror.  But  as  they  were  unable  to  resist,  and 
as,  at  the  same  time,  they  could  not  bring  their 
minds  to  acquiesce  in  the  thought  of  surrender, 
since  they  had  previously  known  from  experi- 
ence the  miseries  of  slavery,  they  betook  them- 
selves in  crowds  to  the  temple.  There,  with  a 
general  groaning  and  commingled  wailing,  they 
implored  the  divine  assistance  ;  saying  that  they 
had  been  sufticiently  pimished  by  Ciod  for  their 
sins  and  offenses ;  and  begging  him  to  spare 
the  remnant  of  them  who  had  recently  been  de- 
liv-ered  from  slavery.  In  the  meantime,  Holo- 
fernes had  admitted  the  Moabites  to  surrender, 
and  joined  them  to  himself  as  allies  in  the  war 
against  the  Jews.  He  inquired  of  their  chief 
men  what  was  the  power  on  which  the  Hebrews 
relied  in  not  bringing  their  minds  to  submit  to 
the  thought  of  submission.     In  reply,  a  certain 


THE    SACRED    HISTORY    OF    SULPITIUS    SEVERUS. 


105 


man  called  Achior  stated  to  him  the  facts,  viz.  : 
that  the  Jews  being  worshipers  of  (lod,  and 
trained  by  their  fathers  to  pious  observances, 
had  formerly  passed  through  a  period  of  slavery 
in  Egvpt,  and  that,  brought  out  from  that  coun- 
try by  the  di\'ine  aid,  and  having  passed  over  on 
foot  the  sea  which  was  dried  up  before  them, 
they  had  at  last  conquered  all  the  opposing  na- 
tions, and  recovered  the  territory  inhabited  by 
their  ancestors.  That  subsequently,  with  various 
fluctuations  in  their  affairs,  they  had  cither  pros- 
pered or  the  reverse,  that,  when  they  did  sink 
into  adversity,  they  had  again  escaped  from  their 
sufferings,  finding  that  God  was,  in  turn,  either 
angry  against  them,  or  reconciled  towards  them, 
according  to  their  deserts,  so  that,  when  they 
sinned,  they  were  chastised  by  the  attacks  of 
enemies  or  by  being  sent  into  captivity,  but  were 
always  unconquerable  when  they  enjoyed  the 
divine  favor.  So  then,  if  at  the  present  time 
they  are  free  from  guilt,  they  cannot  possibly  be 
subdued  ;  but  if  they  are  otherwise  situated,  they 
will  easily  be  conquered.  Upon  this,  Holofernes, 
flushed  with  many  victories,  and  thinking  that 
everything  must  give  way  before  him,  was  roused 
to  wrath,  because  victory  on  his  part  was  re- 
garded as  principally  depending  on  the  sin  of 
the  Jews,  and  ordered  Achior  to  be  pushed  for- 
ward into  the  camp  of  the  Hebrews,  that  he 
might  perish  in  company  with  those  who  he  had 
affirmed  could  not  be  conquered.  Now,  the 
Jews  had  then  made  for  the  mountains ;  and 
those  to  whom  the  business  had  been  assigned, 
proceeded  to  the  foot  of  the  mountains,  and 
there  left  Achior  in  chains.  When  the  Jews 
perceived  that,  they  freed  him  from  his  bonds 
and  conducted  him  up  the  hill.  On  their  in- 
quiring the  reason  of  what  had  happened,  he 
explained  it  to  them,  and,  being  received  in 
peace,  awaited  the  result.  I  may  add  that,  after 
the  victory,  he  was  circumcised  and  became  a 
Jew.  Well,  Holofernes,  perceiving  the  difficulty 
of  the  localities,  because  he  could  not  reach  the 
heights,  surrounded  the  mountains  with  soldiers, 
and  took  the  greatest  pains  to  cut  off  the  He- 
brews from  all  water  supplies.  On  that  account, 
they  felt  all  the  sooner  the  misery  of  a  siege. 
Being  therefore  overcome  through  want  of 
water,  they  went  in  a  company  to  Ozias,  their 
leader,  all  inclined  to  make  a  surrender.  But 
he  replied  that  they  should  wait  a  little,  and 
look  for  the  divine  assistance,  so  that  the  time 
of  surrender  was  fixed  for  the  fifth  day  after- 
wards. 


CHAPTER  XVI. 

When  this  became  known  to  Judith  (a  widow 
woman   of   great   wealth,    and    remarkable    for 


beauty,  but  still  more  distinguished  for  her 
virtue  than  her  beauty),  who  was  then  in  the 
camp,  she  thought  that,  in  tlie  distressed  cir- 
cumstances of  her  people,  some  bold  effort 
ought  to  be  made  by  her,  even  though  it  should 
lead  to  her  own  destruction.  She  therefore 
decks  her  head  and  beautifies  her  countenance, 
and  then,  attended  by  a  single  maid-servant, 
she  enters  the  camp  of  the  enemy.  She  was 
immediately  conducted  to  Holofernes,  and  tells 
him  that  the  affairs  of  her  countrymen  were 
desperate,  so  that  she  had  taken  precautions  for 
her  life  by  flight.  Then  she  begs  of  the  general 
the  right  of  a  free  egress  from  the  camp  during 
night,  for  the  purpose  of  saying  her  prayers. 
That  order  was  accordingly  given  to  the  senti- 
nels and  keepers  of  the  gates.  But  when  by 
the  practice  of  three  days  she  had  estabhshed 
for  herself  the  habit  of  going  out  and  returning.. 
and  had  also  in  this  way  inspired  belief  in  he^ 
into  the  barbarians,  the  desire  took  possessiorx 
of  Holofernes  of  abusing  the  person  of  his  cap- 
tive ;  for,  being  of  surpassing  beauty,  she  had 
easily  impressed  the  Persian.  Accordingly,  she 
was  conducted  to  the  tent  of  the  general  by 
Baguas,  the  eunuch  ;  and,  commencing  a  ban- 
quet, the  barbarian  stupefied  himself  with  a  great 
deal  of  wine.  Then,  when  the  servants  with- 
drew, before  he  offered  violence  to  the  woman, 
he  fell  asleep.  Judith,  seizing  the  opportunity, 
cut  off  the  head  of  the  enemy  and  carried  it 
away  with  her.  Being  regarded  as  simply  going 
out  of  the  camp  according  to  her  usual  custom, 
she  returned  to  her  own  people  in  safety.  On 
the  following  day  the  Hebrews  held  forth  for 
show  the  head  of  Holofernes  from  the  heights ; 
and,  making  a  sally,  marched  upon  the  camp  of 
the  enemy.  And  then  the  barbarians  assemble 
in  crowds  at  the  tent  of  their  general,  waiting 
for  the  signal  of  battle.  When  his  mutilated 
body  was  discovered,  they  turned  to  flight 
under  the  influence  of  a  disgraceful  panic,  and 
fled  before  the  enemy.  The  Jews,  for  their 
part,  pursued  the  fugitives,  and  after  slaying 
many  thousands,  took  possession  of  the  camp 
and  the  booty  within  it.  Judith  was  extolled 
with  the  loftiest  praises,  and  is  said  to  have 
lived  one  hundred  and  five  years.  If  these 
things  took  place,  as  we  believe,  under  king 
Ochus,  in  the  twelfth  year  of  his  reign,  then 
from  the  date  of  the  restoration  of  Jerusalem  up 
to  that  war  there  elapsed  two  and  twenty  years. 
Now  Ochus  reigned  in  all  twenty-three  years. 
And  he  was  beyond  all  others  cruel,  and  more 
than  of  a  barbarous  disposition.  Baguas,  the 
eunuch,  took  him  off  by  poison  on  an  occasion 
of  his  suffering  from  illness.  After  him,  Arses 
his  son  held  the  government  for  three  years,  and 
Darius  for  four. 


io6 


THE   WRITINGS    OF    SULPITIUS    SEVERUS. 


CHAPTER  XVII. 

Against  him  Alexander  of  Macedon  engaged 
in  war.  And  on  liis  being  conquered,  the  sover- 
eign power  was  taken  from  the  Persians,  after 
having  lasted,  from  the  time  of  its  establish- 
ment by  Cyrus,  two  hundred  and  fifty  years. 
Alexander,  the  conqueror  of  almost  all  nations, 
is  said  to  have  visited  the  temple  at  Jerusalem, 
and  to  have  conveyed  gifts  into  it ;  and  he  pro- 
claimed throughout  the  whole  territory  which  he 
had  reduced  under  his  sway  that  it  should  be 
free  to  the  Jews  living  in  it  to  return  to  their 
own  country.  At  the  end  of  the  twelfth  year  of 
his  reign,  and  seven  years  after  he  had  con- 
quered Darius,  he  died  at  Babylon.  His  friends 
who,  along  with  him,  had  carried  on  those  very 
important  wars,  divided  his  empire  among  them- 
selves. For  some  time  they  administered  the 
charges  they  had  undertaken  without  making 
use  of  the  name  of  king,  while  a  certain  Arridseus 
Philippus,  the  brother  of  Alexander,  reigned,  to 
whom,  being  of  a  very  weak  character,  the 
sovereignty  was  nominally  and  in  appearance 
given,  but  the  real  power  was  in  the  hands  of 
those  who  had  divided  among  themselves  the 
army  and  the  provinces.  And  indeed  this 
state  of  things  did  not  long  continue,  but  all 
preferred  that  they  should  be  called  by  the 
name  of  kings.  In  Syria  Seleucus  was  the  first 
king  after  Alexander,  Persia  and  Babylon  being 
also  subject  to  his  sway.  At  that  time  the  Jews 
paid  an  annual  tribute  of  three  hundred  talents 
of  silver  to  the  king  ;  but  they  were  governed 
not  by  foreign  magistrates  but  by  their  own 
priests.  And  they  lived  according  to  the  fash- 
ions of  their  ancestors  until  very  many  of  them, 
again  corrupted  by  a  long  peace,  began  to 
mingle  all  things  with  seditions,  and  to  create 
disturbances,  while  they  aimed  at  the  high- 
priesthood  under  the  influence  of  lust,  avarice, 
and  the  desire  of  power. 


CHAPTER   XVIII. 

For,  first  of  all,  under  king  Seleucus,  the  son 
of  Antiochus  the  great,  a  certain  man  called 
Simon  accused  to  the  king  on  false  charges 
Onias  the  priest,  a  holy  and  uncorrupted  man, 
and  thus  tried,  but  in  vain,  to  overthrow  him. 
Then,  after  an  interval  of  time,  Jason,  the 
brother  of  Onias,  went  to  Antiochus  the  king, 
who  had  succeeded  his  brother  Seleucus,  and 
promised  him  cin  increase  of  tribute,  if  the  high- 
priesthood  were  transferred  to  him.  And  al- 
though it  was  an  unusual,  and  indeed,  until  now, 
an  unpermitted  thing  for  a  man  to  enjoy  the 
high-priesthood  year  after  year,  still  the  eager 
mind  of  the   king,   diseased  with  avarice,  was 


easily  persuaded.  Accordingly,  Onias  was  driven 
from  office,  and  the  priesthood  bestowed  on 
Jason.  He  harassed  his  countrymen  and  his 
country  in  the  most  shameful  manner.  Then, 
as  he  had  sent  through  a  certain  .Menelaus  (the 
brother  of  that  Simon  who  has  been  mentioned) 
the  money  he  had  promised  to  the  king,  a  way 
being  once  laid  open  to  his  ambition,  Menelaus 
obtained  the  priesthood  by  the  same  arts  which 
Jason  had  employed  before.  But  not  long  after, 
as  he  had  not  furnished  the  promised  amount 
of  money,  he  was  driven  from  his  position,  and 
Lysimachus  substituted  in  his  stead.  Then  there 
arose  disgraceful  conflicts  between  Jason  and 
Menelaus,  until  Jason,  as  an  exile,  left  the  coun- 
try. By  examples  like  these,  the  morals  of  the 
people  became  corrupted  to  such  an  extent,  that 
numbers  of  the  natives  begged  permission  from 
Antiochus  to  live  after  the  fashion  of  the  Gen- 
tiles. And  when  the  king  granted  their  request, 
all  the  most  worthless  vied  Avith  each  other  in 
their  endeavors  to  construct  temples,  to  sacrifice 
to  idols,  and  to  profane  the  law.  In  the  mean- 
time, Antiochus  returned  from  Alexandria  (for 
he  had  then  made  war  upon  the  king  of  Egypt, 
which,  however,  he  gave  up  by  the  orders  of  the 
senate  and  Roman  people,  when  Paulus  and 
Crassus  were  consuls),  and  went  to  Jerusalem. 
Finding  the  people  at  variance  from  the  diverse 
superstitions  they  had  adopted,  he  destroyed  the 
law  of  God,  and  showed  favor  to  those  who  fol- 
lowed impious  courses,  while  he  carried  off  all 
the  ornaments  of  the  temple,  and  wasted  it  with 
much  destruction.  That  came  to  pass  in  the 
hundred  and  fiftieth  year  after  the  death  of 
Alexander,  Paulus  and  Crassus  being,  as  we 
have  said,  consuls,  about  five  years  after  Antio- 
chus began  to  reign. 


CHAPTER    XIX. 

But  that  the  order  of  the  dates  may  be  cor- 
rectly presented,  and  that  it  may  appear  more 
clearly  who  this  Antiochus  was,  we  shall  enu- 
merate both  the  names  and  times  of  the  kings 
who  came  after  Alexander  in  Syria.  Well,  then, 
king  Alexander  having  died,  as  we  have  related 
above,  his  whole  empire  was  portioned  out  by 
his  friends,  and  was  governed  for  some  time  by 
them  under  the  name  of  the  king.'  Seleucus, 
after  the  lapse  of  nine  years,  was  himself  styled 
king  in  Syria,  and  reigned  thirty-two  years. 
After  him  came  Antiochus,  his  son,  with  a  reign 
of  twenty-one  years.  Then  came  Antiochus,  the 
son  of  Antiochus,  who  was  surnamed  Theus,  and 

After   him,  his  son 


he   reigned  fifteen  years. 


^  They  did  not  themselves,  for  a  time,  assume  the  name  of  king, 
but,  as  said  above,  professed  to  rule  under  the  authority  of  king 
Arridxus,  brother  of  Alexander. 


THE    SACRED    HISTORY    OF    SULPITIUS    SEVERUS. 


107 


Seleucus,  surnamed  Callinicns,  reigned  twenty- 
one  years.  Another  Seleucus,  the  son  of  CalU- 
nicus,  reigned  three  years.  After  his  death, 
Antiochus,  the  l)rother  of  CalHnicus,  held  Asia 
and  Syria  for  thirty-seven  years.  This  is  the 
Antiochus  against  whom  Lucius  Scipio  Asiaticus 
made  war ;  and  he,  being  worsted  in  the  war, 
was  stripped  of  a  part  of  his  empire.  He  had 
two  sons,  Seleucus  and  Antiochus,  the  latter  of 
whom  he  had  given  as  a  hostage  to  the  Romans. 
Thus,  then,  Antiochus  the  great  having  died,  his 
younger  son  Seleucus  obtained  the  kingdom, 
under  whom,  as  we  have  said,  Onias  the  priest 
had  an  accusation  brought  against  him  by  Simon. 
Then  Antiochus  was  set  free  by  the  Romans, 
and  there  was  given  in  his  place  as  hostage 
Demetrius,  the  son  of  Seleucus,  who  was  at  that 
time  reigning.  Seleucus  dying  in  the  twelfth 
year  of  his  reign,  his  brother  Antiochus,  who 
had  been  a  hostage  at  Rome,  seized  the  king- 
dom. He,  five  years  after  the  beginning  of  his 
reign,  did,  as  we  have  shown  above,  lay  waste 
Jerusalem.  For,  as  he  had  to  pay  a  heavy  trib- 
ute to  the  Romans,  he  was  almost  of  necessity 
compelled,  in  order  to  meet  that  enormous  ex- 
pense, to  provide  himself  with  money  by  rapine, 
and  to  neglect  no  opportunity  of  plundering. 
Then,  after  two  years,  the  Jews  being  again 
visited  by  a  similar  disaster  to  that  which  they 
had  suffered  before,  lest  it  should  happen  that, 
driven  on  by  their  numerous  miseries,  they  should 
commence  war,  he  placed  a  garrison  in  the  cita- 
del. Next,  with  the  view  of  overturning  the 
holy  law,  he  published  an  edict,  that  all,  forsak- 
ing the  traditions  of  their  ancestors,  should  live 
after  the  manner  of  the  Gentiles.  And  there 
were  not  wanting  those  who  readily  obeyed  this 
profane  enactment.  Then  truly  there  was  a  hor- 
rible spectacle  presented ;  through  all  the  cities 
sacrifices  were  publicly  offered  in  the  streets, 
while  the  sacred  volumes  of  the  law  and  the 
prophets  were  consumed  with  fire. 


CHAPTER  XX. 

At  that  time,  Matthathias,  the  son  of  John, 
was  high-priest.  When  he  was  being  forced  by 
the  servants  of  the  king  to  obey  the  edict,  with 
marvelous  courage  he  set  at  naught  the  profane 
enactments,  and  slew,  in  the  presence  of  all,  a 
Hebrew  who  was  publicly  performing  profone 
acts.  A  leader  having  thus  been  found,  rebel- 
lion at  once  took  place.  Matthathias  left  the 
town ;  and  as  many  flocked  to  him,  he  got  up 
the  appearance  of  a  regular  army.  The  object 
of  every  man  in  that  host  was  to  defend  himself 
by  arms  against  a  profane  government,  and 
rather  even  to  fall  in  war  than  to  take  part  in 
impious    ceremonies.     In   the  meantime,  Anti- 


ochus was  compelling  those  Jews  who  were 
found  in  the  Greek  cities  in  his  dominions  to 
offer  sacrifice,  and  was  visiting  with  unheard-of 
torments  those  who  refused.  At  this  time,  there 
occurred  that  well-known  and  remarkable  suffer- 
ing of  the  seven  brothers  and  their  mother. 
All  of  the  brothers,  when  they  were  being 
forced  to  violate  the  law  of  God,  and  the  cus- 
toms of  their  ancestors,  preferred  rather  to  die. 
At  last,  their  mother,  too,  accompanied  them 
both  in  their  sufferings  and  death. 


CHAPTER  XXI. 

In  the  meantime,  Matthathias  dies,  having 
appointed  in  his  own  place  his  son  Judah,  as 
general  of  the  army  which  he  had  brought  to- 
gether. Under  his  leadership,  several  success- 
ful battles  took  place  against  the  royal  forces. 
For  first  of  all,  he  destroyed,  along  with  his 
whole  army,  ApoUonius,  the  enemy's  general, 
who  had  entered  on  the  conflict  with  a  large 
number  of  troops.  When  a  certain  man,  named 
Seron,  who  was  then  the  ruler  of  Syria,  heard 
of  this,  he  increased  his  forces,  and  attacked 
Judah  with  much  spirit  as  being  superior  in 
numbers,  but  when  a  battle  took  place,  he  was 
routed  and  put  to  flight ;  and  with  the  loss  of 
nearly  eight  hundred  men,  he  returned  to  Syria. 
On  this  becoming  known  to  Antiochus,  he  was 
filled  with  rage  and  regret,  inasmuch  as  it  vexed 
him  that  his  generals  had  been  conquered,  not- 
withstanding their  large  armies.  He  therefore 
gathers  aid  from  his  whole  empire,  and  bestows 
a  donative  on  the  soldiers,  almost  to  the  ex- 
haustion of  his  treasury.  For  he  was  then  suf- 
fering in  a  very  special  manner  from  the  want 
of  money.  The  reason  of  this  was,  on  the  one 
side,  that  the  Jews,  who  had  been  accustomed 
to  pay  him  an  annual  tribute  of  more  than  three 
hundred  talents  of  silver,  were  now  in  a  state 
of  rebellion  against  him  ;  and  on  the  other  side, 
that  many  of  the  Greek  cities  and  countries 
were  unsettled  by  the  evil  of  persecution.  For 
Antiochus  had  not  spared  even  the  Gentiles, 
whom  he  had  sought  to  persuade  to  abandon 
their  long-established  superstitions,  and  to 
draw  over  to  one  kind  of  religious  obsei-vance. 
And  no  doubt,  those  of  them  who  regarded 
nothing  as  sacred,  easily  were  induced  to  give 
up  their  ancient  forms  of  worship,  but  at  the 
same  time  all  were  in  a  state  of  alarm  and  dis- 
aster. For  these  reasons,  then,  the  taxes  had 
ceased  to  be  paid.  Boiling  with  wrath  on  these 
grounds  (for  he  who  had  of  old  been  the  richest 
of  kings  now  deeply  felt  the  poverty  due  to  his 
own  wickedness),  he  divided  his  forces  with 
Lysias,  and  committed  to  him  Syria  and  the 
war  against  the  Jews,  while  he  himself  set  out 


io8 


THE  WRITINGS    OF    SULPITIUS    SEVERUS. 


against  the  Persians,  to  collect  the  taxes  among 
them.  Lysias,  then,  selected  Ptolemy,  Gorgias, 
Doro,  and  Nicanor,  as  generals  in  the  war ;  and 
to  these  he  gave  forty  thousand  infantry,  and 
seven  thousand  cavalry.  At  the  first  onset, 
these  caused  great  alarm  among  the  Jews. 
Then  Judah,  when  all  were  in  despair,  exhorted 
his  men  to  go  with  courageous  hearts  to  battle  — 
that,  if  they  put  their  trust  in  God,  everything 
v.'ould  give  way  before  them ;  for  that  often 
before  then  the  victory  had  been  won  by  a  few 
fighting  against  many.  A  fast  was  proclaimed, 
and  sacrifice  was  offered,  after  which  they  went 
down  to  battle.  .  The  result  was  that  the  forces 
of  the  enemy  were  scattered,  and  Judah,  taking 
possession  of  their  camp,  found  in  it  both  much 
gold  and  Tyrian  treasures.  For  merchants 
from  Syria,  having  no  doubt  as  to  victory,  had 
followed  the  king's  army  with  the  hope  of  pur- 
chasing prisoners,  and  now  were  themselves 
spoiled.  When  these  things  were  reported  to 
Lysias  by  messengers,  he  got  together  troops 
with  still  greater  efforts,  and  in  a  year  after 
again  attacked  the  Jews  with  an  enormous 
army ;  but  being  defeated,  he  retreated  to 
Antioch. 


CHAPTER   XXII. 

Judah,  on  the  defeat  of  the  enemy,  returned 
to  Jerusalem,  and  bent  his  mind  on  the  purifi- 
cation and  restoration  of  the  temple,  which  hav- 
ing been  overthrown  by  Antiochus,  and  profaned 
by  the  Gentiles,  presented  a  melancholy  specta- 
cle. But  as  the  Syrians  held  the  citadel,  which 
being  connected  with  the  temple,  but  standing 
above  it  in  position,  was  really  impregnable,  the 
lower  parts  proved  inaccessible,  as  frequent 
sallies  from  above  prevented  persons  from  ap- 
])roaching  them.  .  But  Judah  placed  against 
these  assailants  a  very  powerful  body  of  his  men. 
Thus  the  work  of  the  sacred  building  was  pro- 
tected, and  the  temple  was  surrounded  with  a 
wall,  while  armed  men  were  appointed  to  main- 
tain a  perpetual  defence.  And  Lysias,  having 
again  returned  into  Judaea  with  increased  forces, 
was  once  more  defeated  with  a  great  loss  both 
of  his  own  army  and  of  the  auxiliaries,  which 
being  sent  to  him  by  various  states  had  com- 
bined with  him  in  the  war.  In  the  meantime, 
Antiochus,  who,  as  we  have  said  above,  had 
marched  into  Persia,  endeavored  to  plunder  the 
town  of  Elymus,  the  wealthiest  in  the  country, 
and  a  temple  situated  there  which  was  filled 
with  gold  ;  but,  as  a  multitude  flocked  together 
from  all  sides  for  the  defense  of  the  place,  he 
was  put  to  flight.  Moreover,  he  received  news 
of  the  want  off  success  which  had  attended  the 


efforts  of  Lysias.^  Thus,  from  distress  of  mind, 
he  fell  into  bodily  disease.  But  as  he  was  then 
tormented  with  internal  sufferings,  he  remem- 
bered the  miseries  which  he  had  inflicted  on 
the  people  of  God,  and  acknowledged  that  these 
evils  had  deservedly  been  sent  upon  him. 
Then,  after  a  few  days,  he  died,  having  reigned 
eleven  years.  He  left  the  kingdom  to  his  son 
Antiochus,  to  whom  the  name  of  Eupator  was 
given. 


CHAPTER   XXIII. 

At  that  time  Judah  besieged  the  Syrians  who 
were  posted  in  the  citadel.  They,  being  sore 
pressed  with  famine  and  want  of  all  things,  sent 
messengers  to  the  king  to  implore  assistance. 
Accordingly,  Eupator  came  to  their  aid  with  a 
hundred  thousand  infantry  and  twenty  thousand 
cavalry,  while  elephants  marched  in  front  of  his 
line,  causing  immense  terror  to  the  onlookers. 
Then  Judah,  abandoning  the  siege,  went  to 
meet  the  king,  and  routed  the  Syrians  in  the 
first  battle.  The  king  begged  for  peace,  which, 
because  ^  he,  with  his  treacherous  disposition, 
made  a  bad  use  of,  vengeance  followed  his 
treachery.  For  Demetrius,  the  son  of  Seleucus, 
who,  we  have  said  above,  was  handed  over  as 
a  hostage  to  the  Romans,  when  he  heard'  that 
Antiochus  had  departed,  begged  that  they  would 
send  him  to  take  possession  of  the  kingdom. 
And  when  this  was  refused  to  him,  he  secretly 
fled  from  Rome,  came  into  Syria,  and  seized  the 
supreme  power,  having  slain  the  son  of  Anti- 
ochus, who  had  reigned  one  year  and  six 
months.  It  was  during  his  reign  that  the  Jews 
first  begged  the  friendship  of  the  Roman  people, 
and  alliance  with  them  ;  and  the  embassy  to 
this  effect  having  been  kindly  received,  they 
were,  by  a  decree  of  the  senate,  styled  allies 
and  friends.  In  the  meantime  Demetrius  was, 
by  means  of  his  generals,  carrying  on  war  against 
Judah.  And  first  the  army  was  led  by  a  certain 
man  named  Bacchides,  and  by  Alcimus,  a  Jew ; 
Nicanor,  being  afterwards  placed  at  the  head  of 
the  war,  fell  in  battle.  Then  Bacchides  and 
Alcimus,  recovering  power,  and  having  increased 
their  forces,  fought  against  Judah.  The  Syrians, 
turning  out  victorious  in  that  battle,  cruelly 
abused  their  victory.  The  Hebrews  elect  Jona- 
than, the  brother  of  Judah,  in  his  place.  In  the 
meantime,  Alcimus,  after  he  had  fearfully  deso- 
lated Jerusalem,  dies  ;  Bacchides,  being  thus  de- 
prived of  his  ally,  returns  to  the  king.  Then, 
after  an  interval  of  two  years,  Bacchides  again 
made  war  upon  the  Jews,  and  being  beaten,  he 


1  Some  acid  the  words,  "or  of  Lysimachus,"  but  this  appears  to 
have  been  a  closs. 

1  The  text  is  here  in  utter  confusion;  we  have  followed  that 
suggested  by  Vorstius. 


THE    SACRED    HISTORY    OF    SULPITIUS    SEVERUS. 


109 


begged  for  peace.  Hiis  was  granted  him  on 
certain  conditions,  to  the  effect  that  he  should 
give  up  the  deserters  and  prisoners,  along  with 
all  that  he  had  taken  in  war. 


CHAPTER   XXIV. 

While  these  things  are  going  on  in  Judaea,  a 
certain  young  man  educated  at  Rhodes,  by 
name  Alexander,  gave  himself  out  as  being  the 
son  of  Antiochus  (which  was  false),  and  assisted 
by  the  power  of  Ptolemy,  king  of  Alexan- 
dria, came  into  Syria  with  an  army.  He  con- 
quered Demetrius  in  war,  and  slew  him  after 
he  had  reigned  twelve  years.  This  Alexander, 
before  he  made  war  against  Demetrius,  had 
formed  an  alliance  with  Jonathan,  and  had  pre- 
sented him  with  a  purple  robe  and  royal  ensigns. 
For  this  reason  Jonathan  had  assisted  him  with 
auxiliary  forces ;  and  on  the  defeat  of  Deme- 
trius, had  been  the  very  first  to  meet  him  with 
congratulations.  Nor  did  Alexander  afterv\'ards 
violate  the  faith  which  he  had  pledged.  Accord- 
ingly, in  the  five  years  during  which  he  held  the 
chief  power,  the  affairs  of  the  Jews  were  peace- 
ful. In  these  circumstances,  Demetrius,  the 
son  of  Demetrius,  who,  after  the  death  of  his 
father,  had  betaken  himself  to  Crete,  at  the  in- 
stigation of  Lasthenes,  general  of  the  Cretans, 
tried  by  war  to  recover  the  kingdom  of  his 
father,  but  finding  his  power  unequal  to  the 
task,  he  implored  Ptolemy  Philometor,  king  of 
Egypt,  the  father-in-law  of  Alexander,  but  who 
was  then  on  bad  terms  with  his  son-in-law,  to 
give  him  assistance.  But  he,  induced  not  so 
much  by  the  entreaties  of  the  suppliant  as  by 
the  hope  of  seizing  Syria,  joined  his  forces  with 
those  of  Demetrius,  and  gives  him  his  daughter, 
who  had  been  married  to  Alexander.  Ag<ainst 
these  two  Alexander  fought  a  pitched  battle. 
Ptolemy  fell  in  the  fight,  but  Alexander  was  de- 
feated ;  and  he  was  soon  afterwards  slain,  after 
he  had  reigned  five,  or  as  I  find  it  stated  in 
many  authors^  nine  years. 


CHAPTER   XXV. 

Demetrius,  having  thus  obtained  the  king- 
dom, treated  Jonathan  with  kindness,  made  a 
treaty  with  him,  and  restored  the  Jews  to  their 
own  laws.  In  the  meantime,  Tryphon,  who  had 
belonged  to  the  party  of  Alexander,  was  ap- 
pointed ^  governor  of  Syria,  to  keep  him  in 
check  by  war.     Jonathan,"  on  the  other  hand. 


*  Some  words  have  here  been  lost,  but  the  critics  are  not  agreed 
as  to  what  should  be  supplied. 

^  As  Vorstius  suggests,  we  have  here  taken  Jonathan  as  a  nomi- 
native, but  the  passage  is  very  obscure. 


descended  to  battle,  formidable  with  an  army  of 
forty  thousand  men.  Tryphon,  when  he  saw 
himself  unequal  to  the  contest,  pretended  a 
desire  for  peace,  and  slew  Ptolemais  who  had 
been  received  and  invited  into  friendship  with 
him.  After  Jonathan,  the  chief  power  was  con- 
ferred on  his  brother  Simon.  He  celebrated 
the  funeral  of  his  brother  with  great  pomp,  and 
built  those  well-known  seven  pyramids  of  most 
noble  workmanship,  in  which  he  buried  the 
remains  both  of  his  brothers  and  of  his  father. 
Then  Demetrius  renewed  his  treaty  with  the 
Jews  ;  and  in  consideration  of  the  loss  caused 
to  them  by  Tryphon  (for  after  the  death  of 
Jonathan  he  had  wasted  by  war  their  cities  and 
territories),  he  remitted  to  them  their  annual 
tribute  forever ;  for  up  to  that  time,  they  had 
paid  tribute  to  the  kings  of  Syria,  except  when 
they  resisted  by  force  of  arms.  That  took  place 
in  the  second  year  of  king  Demetrius  ;  and  we 
have  noted  that,  because  up  to  this  year  we  have 
run  through  the  times  of  the  Asiatic  kings,  that 
the  series  of  dates  being  given  in  order  might 
be  perfectly  clear.  But  now  we  shall  arrange 
the  order  of  events  through  the  times  of  those, 
who  were  either  high-priests  or  kings  among  the 
Jews,  up  to  the  period  of  the  birth  of  Christ. 


CHAPTER   XXVI. 

Well,  then,  after  Jonathan,  his  brother  Simon, 
as  has  been  said  above,  ruled  over  the  Hebrews 
with  the  power  of  high-priest.  For  that  honor 
was  then  bestowed  upon  him  both  by  his  own 
countrymen  and  by  the  Roman  people.  He 
began  to  rule  over  his  countrymen  in  the  second 
year  of  king  Demetrius,  but  eight  years  after- 
wards, being  deceived  by  a  plot  of  Ptolemy,  he 
met  his  death.  He  was  succeeded  by  his  son 
John.  And  he,  on  the  ground  that  he  had 
fought  with  distinction  against  the  Hyrcani,  a 
very  powerful  nation,  received  the  surname  of 
Hyrcanus.  He  died,  after  having  held  the 
supreme  power  for  twenty-six  years.  After  him, 
Aristobulus  being  appointed  high-priest,  was  the 
first  of  all  living  after  the  captivity  to  assume  the 
name  of  king,  and  to  have  a  crown  placed  upon 
his  head.  At  the  close  of  a  year,  he  died. 
Then  Alexander,  his  son,  who  was  both  king 
and  high-priest,  reigned  twenty-seven  years; 
but  I  have  found  nothing  in  his  doings  worthy 
of  mention,  except  his  cruelty.  He  having  left 
two  young  sons  named  Aristobulus  and  Hyrca- 
nus, Salina  or  Alexandra,  his  wife,  held  the  sov- 
ereignty for  three  years.  After  his  decease, 
frightful  conflicts  about  the  supreme  power  arose 
between  the  two  brothers.  And  first  of  all, 
Hyrcanus  held  the  government ;  but  being  by 
and  by  defeated  by  his  brother  Aristobulus,  he 


I  lO 


THE    WRITINGS    OF    SULPITIUS    SEVERUS. 


fled  to  Pompey.  That  Roman  general,  having 
finished  the  war  withtMithridates,  and  settled 
Armenia  and  Pontus,  being,  in  fact,  the  con- 
queror of  all  the  nations  which  he  had  visited, 
desired  to  march  inwards,'  and  to  add  all  the 
neighboring  regions  to  the  Roman  empire.  He 
therefore  inquired  into  the  causes  of  the  war, 
and  the  means  of  obtaining^  the  mastery.  Ac- 
cordingly he  readily  received  Hyrcanus,  and, 
under  his  guidance,  attacked  the  Jews ;  but 
when  the  city  was  taken  and  destroyed,  he 
spared  the  temple.  He  sent  Aristobulus  in 
chains  to  Rome,  and  restored  the  right  of  the 
high-priesthood  to  Hyrcanus.  Setthng  the  trib- 
ute to  be  paid  by  -the  Jews,  he  placed  over  them 
as  governor  a  certain  Antipater  of  Askelon. 
Hyrcanus  held  the  chief  power  for  thirty-four 
years ;  but  while  he  carried  on  war  against  the 
Parthians,  he  was  taken  prisoner. 


CHAPTER   XXVIl. 

Then  Herod,  a  foreigner,  the  son  of  Antipater 
of  Askelon,  asked  and  received  the  sovereignty 
of  Judcea  from  the  senate  and  people  of  Rome. 
Under  him,  the  Jews  began  for  the  first  time  to 
have  a  foreigner  as  king.  For  as  now  the  ad- 
vent of  Christ  was  at  hand,  it  was  necessary, 
according  to  the  predictions  of  the  prophets,  that 
they  should  be  deprived  of  their  own  rulers,  that 
they  might  not  look  for  anything  beyond  Christ. 
Under  this  Herod,  in  the  thirty-third  year  of  his 
reign,  Christ  was  born  on  the  twenty-fifth  of 
December  in  the  consulship  of  Sabinus  and 
Rufinus.  But  we  do  not  venture  to  touch  on 
these  things  which  are  contained  in  the  Gospels, 
and  subsequently  in  the  Acts  of  the  Apostles, 
lest  the  character  of  our  condensed  work  should, 
in  any  measure,  detract  from  the  dignity  of  the 
events ;  and  I  shall  proceed  to  what  remains. 
Herod  reigned  four  years  after  the  birth  of  the 
Lord ;  for  the  whole  period  of  his  reign  com- 
prised thirty-seven  years.  After  him,  came 
Archelaus  the  tetrarch,  for  eight  years,  and 
Herod  for  twenty-four  years.  Under  him,  in 
the  eighteenth  year  of  his  reign,  the  Lord  was 
crucified,  Fufius  Geminus  and  Rubellius  Gem- 
inus  being  consuls  ;  from  which  date  up  to  the 
consulship  of  Stilico,  there  have  elapsed  three 
hundred  and  seventy-two  years. 


CHAPTER  XXVni. 

Luke  made  known  the  doings  of  the  apostles 
up  to  the  time  when  Paul  was  brought  to  Rome 
under  the  emperor  Nero.     As  to  Nero,  I  shall 

1  "  Introrsum,"  toivards  home;  another  reading  is  "  ultror- 
%\im"  /nriher  onwards. 

•  "vincendi":  others  read  "  incendii." 


not  say  that  he  was  the  worst  of  kings,  but  that 
he  was  worthily  held  the  basest  of  all  men,  and 
even  of  wild  beasts.  It  was  he  who  first  began  a 
persecution ;  and  I  am  not  sure  but  he  will  be 
the  last  also  to  carry  it  on,  if,  indeed,  we  admit, 
as  many  are  inclined  to  believe,  that  he  will  yet 
appear  immediately  before  the  coming  of  Anti- 
christ. Our  subject  would  induce  me  to  set 
forth  his  vices  at  some  length,  if  it  were  not  in- 
consistent v»ith  the  purpose  of  this  work  to  enter 
upon  so  vast  a  topic.  I  content  myself  with  the 
remark,  that  he  showed  himself  in  every  way 
most  abominable  and  cruel,  and  at  length  even 
went  so  far  as  to  be  the  murderer  of  his  own 
mother.  After  this,  he  also  married  a  certain 
Pythagoras  in  the  style  of  solemn  alliances,  the 
bridal  veil  being  put  upon  the  emperor,  while 
the  usual  dowry,  and  the  marriage  couch,  and 
wedding  torches,  and,  in  short,  all  the  other 
observances  were  forthcoming  —  things  which 
even  in  the  case  of  women  are  not  looked  upon 
without  some  feeling  of  modesty.  But  as  to  his 
other  actions,  I  doubt  whether  the  description 
of  them  would  excite  greater  shame  or  sorrow. 
He  first  attempted  to  abolish  the  name  of  Chris- 
tian, in  accordance  with  the  fact  that  vices  are 
always  inimical  to  virtues,  and  that  all  good  men 
are  ever  regarded  by  the  wicked  as  casting  re- 
proach upon  them.  For,  at  that  time,  our  divine 
religion  had  obtained  a  wide  prevalence  in  the 
city.  Peter  was  there  executing  the  office  of 
bishop,  and  Paul,  too,  after  he  had  been  bro'ught 
to  Rome,  on  appealing  to  Caesar  from  the  un- 
just judgment  of  the  governor.  Multitudes  then 
came  together  to  hear  Paul,  and  these,  influenced 
by  the  truth  which  they  were  given  to  know,  and 
by  the  miracles '  of  the  apostles,  which  they  then 
so  frequently  performed,  turned  to  the  worship 
of  God.  For  then  took  place  the  well-known 
and  celebrated  encounter  of  Peter  and  Paul  with 
Simon.-  He,  after  he  had  flown  up  into  the  air 
by  his  magical  arts,  and  supported  by  two  de- 
mons (with  the  view  of  proving  that  he  was  a 
god),  the  demons  being  put  to  flight  by  the 
prayers  of  the  apostles,  fell  to  the  earth  in  the 
sight  of  all  the  people,  and  was  dashed  to  pieces. 


CHAPTER   XXIX. 

In  the  meantime,  the  nui\iber  of  the  Christians 
being  now  very  large,  it  happened  that  Rome 
was  destroyed  by  fire,  while  Nero  was  stationed 
at  Antium.  But  the  opinion  of  all  cast  the 
odium  of  causing  the  fire  upon  the  emperor, 
and  he  was  believed  in  this  way  to  have  sought 
for  the  glory  of  building  a  new  city.  And  in 
fact,   Nero   could  not  by  any  means   he   tried 

1  "  virtutibus." 

-  Generally  spoken  of  as  Simon  Magus 


THE   SACRED    HISTORY    OF   SULPITIUS    SEVERUS. 


I II 


escape  from  the  charge  that  the  fire  had  been 
caused  bv  his  orders.  He  therefore  turned  the 
accusation  against  the  Christians,  and  the  most 
cruel  tortures  were  accordingly  inflicted  upon 
the  innocent.  Nay,  even  new  kinds  of  death 
were  invented,  so  that,  being  covered  in  the 
skins  of  wild  beasts,  they  perished  by  being  de- 
voured by  dogs,  while  many  were  crucified  or 
slain  by  fire,  and  not  a  few  were  set  apart  for 
this  purpose,  that,  when  the  day  came  to  a  close, 
thev  should  be  consumed  to  serve  for  light  dur- 
ing  the  night.  In  this  way,  cruelty  first  began 
to  be  manifested  against  the  Christians.  After- 
wards, too,  their  religion  was  prohibited  by  laws 
which  were  enacted  ;  and  by  edicts  openly  set 
forth  it  was  proclaimed  unlawful  to  be  a  Chris- 
tian. At  that  time  Paul  and  Peter  were  con- 
demned to  death,  the  former  being  beheaded 
with  a  sword,  while  Peter  suffered  crucifixion. 
And  while  these  things  went  on  at  Rome,  the 
Jews,  not  able  to  endure  the  injuries  they  suffered 
under  the  rule  of  Festus  Florus,  began  to  rebel. 
Vespasian,  being  sent  by  Nero  against  them,  with 
proconsular  power,  defeated  them  in  numerous 
important  battles,  and  compelled  them  to  flee 
within  the  walls  of  Jerusalem.  In  the  mean- 
while Nero,  now  hateful  even  to  himself  from  a 
consciousness  of  his  crimes,  disappears  from 
among'  men,  leaving  it  uncertain  whether  or  not 
he  had  laid  violent  hands  upon  himself:  cer- 
tainly his  body  was  never  found.  It  was  accord- 
ingly believed  that,  even  if  he  did  put  an  end  to 
himself  with  a  sword,  his  wound  was  cured,  and 
his  life  preserved,  according  to  that  which  was 
written  regarding  him,  — "  And  his  mortal  - 
wound  was  healed,"  —  to  be  sent  forth  again 
near  the  end  of  the  world,  in  order  that  he  may 
practice  the  mystery  of  iniquity. 


CHAPTER    XXX. 

So  then,  after  the  departure  of  Nero,  Galba 
seized  the  government ;  and  ere  long,  on  Galba 
being  slain,  Otho  secured  it.  Then  Vitellius  from 
Gaul,  trusting  to  the  armies  which  he  coni- 
manded,  entered  the  city,  and  having  killed 
Otho,  assumed  the  sovereignty.  This  afterwards 
passed  to  Vespasian,  and  although  that  was  ac- 
complished by  evil  means,  yet  it  had  the  good 
effect  of  rescuing  the  state  from  the  hands  of 
the  wicked.  While  Vespasian  was  besieging 
Jerusalem,  he  took  possession  of  the  imperial 
power ;  and  as  the  fashion  is,  he  was  saluted  as 
emperor  by  the  army,  with  a  diadem  placed 
upon  his  head.  He  made  his  son  Titus,  Caesar ; 
and  assigned  him  a  portion  of  the  forces,  along 
with  the  task  of  continuing  the  siege  of  Jerusa- 
lem.    Vespasian  set  out  for  Rome,  and  was  re- 


'  "  humanis  rebus  eximitur." 


-  Rev.  .xiii.  3. 


ceived  with  the  greatest  favor  by  the  senate  and 
people  ;  and  Vitellius  having  killed  himself,  his 
hold  of  the  sovereign  power  was  fully  confirmed. 
The  Jews,  meanwhile,  being  closely  besieged,  as 
no  chance  either  of  peace  or  surrender  was 
allowed  them,  were  at  length  perishing  from 
famine,  and  the  streets  began  everywhere  to  be 
filled  with  dead  bodies,  for  the  duty  of  burying 
them  could  no  longer  be  performed.  Moreover, 
they  ventured  on  eating  all  things  of  the  most 
abominable  nature,  and  did  not  even  abstain 
from  human  bodies,  except  those  which  putre- 
faction had  already  laid  hold  of  and  thus 
excluded  from  use  as  food.  The  Romans, 
accordingly,  rushed  in  upon  the  exhausted 
defenders  of  the  city.  And  it  so  happened 
that  the  whole  multitude  from  the  country, 
and  from  other  towns  of  Judaea,  had  then  as- 
sembled for  the  day  of  the  Passover :  doubt- 
less, because  it  pleased  God  that  the  impious 
race  should  be  given  over  to  destruction  at  the 
very  time  of  the  year  at  which  they  had  cruci- 
fied the  Lord.  The  Pharisees  for  a  time  main- 
tained their  ground  most  boldly  in  defense  of 
the  temple,  and  at  length,  with  minds  obsti- 
nately bent  on  death,  they,  of  their  own  accord, 
committed  themselves  to  the  flames.  The  num- 
ber of  those  who  suffered  death  is  related  to 
have  been  eleven  hundred  thousand,  and  one 
hundred  thousand  were  taken  captive  and  sold. 
Titus  is  said,  after  calling  a  council,  to  have 
first  deliberated  whether  he  should  destroy  the 
temple,  a  structure  of  such  extraordinary  work. 
For  it  seemed  good  to  some  that  a  sacred  edi- 
fice, distinguished  above  all  human  achieve- 
ments, ought  not  to  be  destroyed,  inasmuch 
as,  if  preserved,  it  would  furnish  an  evidence  of 
Roman  moderation,  but,  if  destroyed,  would 
serve  for  a  perpetual  proof  of  Roman  cruelty. 
But  on  the  opposite  side,  others  and  Titus  him- 
self thought  that  the  temple  ought  specially  to 
be  overthrown,  in  order  that  the  rehgion  of  the 
Jews  and  of  the  Christians  might  more  thor- 
oughly be  subverted ;  for  that  these  religions, 
although  contrary  to  each  other,  had  nevertheless 
proceeded  from  the  same  authors ;  that  the 
Christians  had  sprung  up  from  among  the  Jews ; 
and  that,  if  the  root  were  extirpated,  the  off- 
shoot would  speedily  perish.  Thus,  according 
to  the  divine  will,  the  minds  of  all  being  in- 
flamed, the  temple  was  destroyed,  three  hun- 
dred and  thirty-one  years  ago.  And  this  last 
overthrow  of  the  temple,  and  final  captivity  of 
the  Jews,  by  which,  being  exiles  from  their  na- 
tive land,  they  are  beheld  scattered  through  the 
whole"  world,  furnish  a  daily  demonstration  to 
the  world,  that  they  have  been  punished  on  no 
other  account  than  for  the  impious  hands  which 
they  laid  upon  Christ.  For  though  on  other 
occasions  they  were  often  given  over  to  captivity 


112 


THE   WRITINGS    OF    SULPITIUS    SEVERUS. 


on  account  of  their  sins,  yet  they  never  paid  the 
penalty  of  slavery  beyond  a  period  of  seventy 
years. 

CHAPTER   XXXI. 

Then,  after  an  interval,  Domitian,  the  son  of 
Vespasian,  persecuted  the  Christians.  At  this 
date,  he  banished  John  the  Apostle  and  Evan- 
gelist to  the  island  of  Patmos.  There  he,  secret 
mysteries  having  been  revealed  to  him,  wrote 
and  published  his  book  of  the  holy  Revelation, 
which  indeed  is  either  foolishly  or  impiously 
not  accepted  by  many.  And  with  no  great 
interval  there  then  occurred  the  third  persecu- 
tion under  Trajan.  But  he,  when  after  torture 
and  racking  he  found  nothing  in  the  Christians 
worthy  of  death  or  punishment,  forbade  any 
further  cruelty  to  be  put  forth  against  them. 
Then  under  Adrian  the  Jews  attempted  to  rebel, 
and  endeavored  to  plunder  both  Syria  and 
Palestine ;  but  on  an  army  being  sent  against 
them,  they  were  subdued.  At  this  time  Adrian, 
thinking  that  he  would  destroy  the  Christian 
faith  by  inflicting  an  injury  upon  the  place,  set 
up  the  images  of  demons  both  in  the  temple 
and  in  the  place  where  the  Lord  suffered.  And 
because  the  Christians  were  thought  principally 
to  consist  of  Jews  (for  the  church  at  Jerusalem 
did  not  then  have  a  priest  except  of  the  circum- 
cision), he  ordered  a  cohort  of  soldiers  to  keep 
constant  guard  in  order  to  prevent  all  Jews  from 
approaching  to  Jerusalem.  This,  however, 
rather  benefited^  the  Christian  faith,  because 
almost  all  then  believed  in  Christ  as  God  while 
continuing  -  in  the  observance  of  the  law.  Un- 
doubtedly that  was  arranged  by  the  over-ruling 
care  of  the  Lord,  in  order  that  the  slavery  of 
the  law  might  be  taken  away  from  the  liberty  of 
the  faith  and  of  the  church.  In  tliis  way,  Mark 
from  among  the  Gentiles  was  then,  first  of  all, 
bishop  at  Jerusalem.  A  fourth  persecution  ■  is 
reckoned  as  having  taken  place  under  Adrian, 
which,  however,  he  afterwards  forbade  to  be 
carried  on,  declaring  it  to  be  unjust  that  any 
one  should  be  put  on  his  trial  without  a  charge 
being  specified  against  him. 


CHAPTER  XXXH. 

After  Adrian,  the  churches  had  peace  under 
the  rule  of  Antoninus  Pius.  Then  the  fifth 
persecution  began  under  Aurelius,  the  son  of 
Antoninus.     And  then,  for  the  first  time,_mar- 

'  How  so?  Because,  according  to  Diusius,  the  Christian  Jews 
were  thus  first  taught  to  cast  off  the  yoke  of  the  law,  which  they 
had  observed  up  to  this  time. 

-  These  were  half-Jews  and  hnlf-Christians,  and  were  known  at 
a  Inter  date  under  the  name  of  Nazaritts.  They  made  use  of  what 
was  called  the  Gospel  according  to  the  Hebrews. 


tyrdoms  were  seen  taking  place  in  Gaul,  for  the 
religion  of  God  had  been  accepted  somewhat 
late  beyond  the  Alps.  Then  the  sixth  persecu- 
tion of  the  Christians  took  place  under  the 
emperor  Severus,  At  this  time  Leonida,  the 
father  of  Origen,  poured  forth  his  sacred  blood 
in  martyrdom.  Then,  during  an  interval  of 
thirty-eight  years,  the  Christians  enjoyed  peace, 
except  that  at  the  middle  of  that  time  Maxi- 
minus  persecuted  the  clerics  of  some  churches. 
Ere  long,  imder  Decius  as  emperor,  the  seventh 
bloody  persecution  broke  out  against  the  Chris- 
tians. Next,  Valerian  proved  himself  the  eighth 
enemy  of  the  saints.  After  him,  with  an  interval 
of  about  fifty  years,  there  arose,  under  the  em- 
perors Diocletian  and  Maximian,  a  most  bitter 
persecution  which,  for  ten  continuous  years, 
wasted  the  people  of  God.  At  this  period, 
almost  the  whole  world  was  stained  with  the 
sacred  blood  of  the  martyrs.  In  fact,  they  vied 
with  each  other  in  rushing  upon  these  glorious 
struggles,  and  martyrdom  by  glorious  deaths 
was  then  much  more  keenly  sought  after  than 
bishoprics  are  now  attempted  to  be  got  by 
wicked  ambition.  Never  more  than  at  that 
time  was  the  world  exhausted  by  wars,  nor  did 
we  ever  achieve  victory  with  a  greater  triumpn 
than  when  we  showed  that  we  could  not  be 
conquered  by  the  slaughters  of  ten  long  years. 
There  survive  also  accounts  of  the  sufferings  of 
the  martyrs  at  that  time  which  were  committed 
to  writing ;  but  I  do  not  think  it  suitable  to 
subjoin  these  lest  I  should  exceed  the  limits 
prescribed  to  this  work. 


CHAPTER   XXXIII. 

Well,  the  end  of  the  persecutions  was  reached 
eighty-eight  years  ago,  at  which  date  the  em- 
perors began  to  be  Christians.  For  Constantine 
then  obtained  the  sovereignty,  and  he  was  the 
first  Christian  of  all  the  Roman  rulers.  At  that 
time,  it  is  true,  Licinius,  who  was  a  rival  of 
Constantine  for  the  empire,  had  commanded 
his  soldiers  to  sacrifice,  and  was  expelling  from 
the  service  those  who  refused  to  do  so.  But 
that  is  not  reckoned  among  the  persecutions  ;  it 
was  an  affair  of  too  little  moment  to  be  able  to 
inflict  any  wound  upon  the  churches.  From 
that  time,  we  have  continued  to  enjoy  tranquil- 
lity ;  nor  do  I  believe  that  there  will  be  any 
further  persecutions,  except  that  which  Anti- 
christ will  carry  on  just  before  the  end  of  the 
world.  For  it  has  been  proclaimed  in  divine 
words,  that  the  world  was  to  be  visited  by  ten 
afilictions  ; '  and  since  nine  of  these  have  already 
been  endured,  the  one  which  remains  must  be 

'  "  decern  plagis.  " 


THE   SACRED    HISTORY   OF    SULPITIUS    SEVERUS. 


1 1 


the  last.  During  this  period  of  time,  it  is  mar- 
velous how  the  Christian  religion  has  prevailed. 
For  Jerusalem  wliich  had  presented  a  horrible 
mass  of  ruins  was  then  adorned  with  most  numer- 
ous and  magnificent  churches.  And  Helena,  the 
mother  of  the  emperor  Constantine  (who  reigned 
along  with  her  son  as  Augusta),  having  a  strong 
desire  to  behold  Jerusalem,  cast  down  the  idols 
and  the  temples  which  were  found  there ;  and 
in  course  of  time,  through  the  exercise  of  her 
royal  powers,  she  erected  churches  '^  on  the  site 
of  the  Lord's  passion,  resurrection,  and  ascen- 
sion. It  is  a  remarkable  fact  that  the  spot  on 
which  the  divine  footprints  had  last  been  left, 
when  the  Lord  was  carried  up  in  a  cloud  to 
heaven,  could  not  be  joined  by  a  pavement  with 
the  remaining  part  of  the  street.  For  the  earth, 
unaccustomed  to  mere  human  contact,  rejected 
all  the  appliances  laid  upon  it,  and  often  threw 
back  the  blocks  of  marble  in  the  faces  of  those 
who  were  seeking  to  place  them.  Moreover,  it 
is  an  enduring  proof  of  the  soil  of  that  place 
having  been  trodden  by  God,  that  the  footprints 
are  still  to  be  seen ;  and  although  the  faith  of 
those  who  daily  flock  to  that  place,  leads  them 
to  vie  with  each  other  in  seeking  to  carry  away 
what  had  been  trodden  by  the  feet  of  the  Lord, 
yet  the  sand  of  the  place  suffers  no  injury ;  and 
the  earth  still  preserves  the  same  appearance 
which  it  presented  of  old,  as  if  it  had  been 
sealed  by  the  footprints  impressed  upon  it. 


CHAPTER   XXXIV. 

Through  the  kind  efforts  of  the  same  queen, 
the  cross  of  the  Lord  was  then  found.  It  could 
not,  of  course,  be  consecrated  at  the  beginning, 
owing  to  the  opposition  of  the  Jews,  and  after- 
wards it  had  been  covered  over  by  the  rubbish 
of  the  ruined  city.  And  now,  it  would  never  have 
been  revealed  except  to  one  seeking  for  it  in 
such  a  believing  spirit.  Accordingly,  Helena 
having  first  got  information  about  the  place  of 
our  Lord's  passion,  caused  a  band  of  soldiers  to 
be  brouglit^  up  to  it,  while  the  whole  multitude 
of  the  inhabitants  of  the  locality  vied  with  each 
other  in  seeking  to  gratify  the  desires  of  the 
queen,  and  ordered  the  earth  to  be  dug  up,  and 
all  the  adjacent  most  extensive  ruins  to  be 
cleared  out.  Ere  long,  as  the  reward  of  her 
faith  and  lalior,  three  crosses  (as  of  old  they 
had  been  fixed  for  the  Lord  and  the  two  rob- 
bers) were  discovered.  But  upon  this,  the 
greater  difficulty  of  distinguishing  the  gibbet  on 
which  the  Lord  had  hung,  disturbed  the  minds 
and  thoughts    of  all,  lest  by  a  mistake,  likely 

5  "basilicas":  edifices,  which,  in  size  and  grandeur,  had  some 
resemblance  to  a  royal  palace. 

^  ''  admota  militari  manu  atqne  omnium  provincialium  multitu- 
dine  in  stadia  reginae  certantium." 


enough  to  be  committed  by  mere  mortals,  thcv 
might  perhaps  consecrate  as  the  cross  of  the 
Lord,  that  which  belonged  to  one  of  the  robbers. 
They  form  then  the  plan  of  placing  one  who 
had  recently  died  in  contact  with  the  crosses. 
Nor  is  there  any  delay  in  carrying  out  this  pur- 
pose ;  for  just  as  if  by  the  appointment  of  God, 
the  funeral  of  a  dead  man  was  then  being  con- 
ducted with  the  usual  ceremonies,  and  all  rush- 
ing up  took  the  body  from  the  bier.  It  was 
applied  in  vain  to  the  first  two  crosses,  but  when 
it  touched  that  of  Christ,  wonderful  to  tell, 
while  all  stood  trembling,  the  dead  body  was- 
shaken  off,  and  stood  up  in  the  midst  of  those 
looking  at  it.  The  cross  was  thus  discovered, 
and  was  consecrated  with  all  due  ceremony.'' 


CHAPTER   XXXV. 

Such  were  -the  things  accomplished  by  Helena, 
while,  under  a  Christian  prince,  the  world  had 
both  attained  to  liberty,  and  possessed  in  him 
an  exemplar  of  faith.  But  a  for  more  dreadful 
danger  than  all  that  had  preceded  fell  upon  all 
the  churches  from  that  state  of  tranquillity.  For 
then  the  Arian  heresy  burst  forth,  and  disturbed 
the  whole  world  by  the  error  which  it  instilled. 
For  by  means  of  the  two  ^  Ariuses,  who  were 
the  most  active  originators  of  this  unfaithfulness, 
the  emperor  himself  was  led  astray,  and  while 
he  seemed  to  himself  to  fulfill  a  religious  duty, 
he  proceeded  to  a  violent  exercise  of  persecu- 
tion. The  bishops  were  driven  into  exile : 
cruelty  was  exerted  against  the  clerics ;  and 
even  the  laity  were  punished,  who  had  separated 
from  the  communion  of  the  Arians.  Now,  the 
doctrines  which  the  Arians  proclaimed  were  of 
the  following  nature,  —  that  God  the  Father 
had  begotten  his  Son  for  the  purpose  of  creating 
the  world ;  and  that,  by  his  power,  he  had 
made "  out  of  nothing  into  a  new  and  second 
substance,  a  new  and  second  God  ;  and  that 
there  was  a  time  when  the  Son  had  no  existence. 
To  meet  this  evil,  a  synod  was  convened  from 
the  whole  world  to  meet  at  Nicasa.  Three 
hundred  and  eighteen  bishops  were  there  as- 
sembled :  the  foith  was  fully  set  forth  in  writing  ; 
the  Arian  heresy  was  condemned  ;  and  the  em- 
peror confirmed  the  whole  by  an  imperial  de- 
cree. The  Arians,  then,  not  daring  to  make  any 
further  attempt  against  the  orthodox  faith,  mixed 
themselves  among  the  churches,  as  if  they 
acquiesced  in  the  conclusions  which  had  been 
reached,  and  did  not  hold  any  different  opinions. 

2  "  funus  excussum":  a  singular  expression. 

°  "ambitu":  apparently  used  here  with  the  meaning  which 
sometimes  belongs  to  "  ambitione." 

^  The  one  of  these  was  Arius,  the  author  of  the  heresy,  and  the 
other  a  presbyter  of  Alexandria  bearing  the  same  name. 

-  Both  the  text  and  meaning  are  here  obscure.  We  have  read, 
with  Halm,  "  fecisse  "  for  the  usual  "  factum." 


114 


THE   WRITINGS   OF   SULPITIUS   SEVERUS. 


There  remained,  however,  in  their  hearts,  a 
deep-seated  hatred  against  the  CathoHcs,  and 
they  assailed,  with  suborned  accusers  and 
trumped-up  charges,  those  with  whom  they 
could  not  contend  in  argument  on  matters  of 
faith. 


CHAPTER  XXXVL 

Accordingly,  they  first  attack  and  condemn 
in  his  absence  Athanasius,  bishop  of  Alexandria, 
a  holy  man,  who  had  been  present  as  deacon  at 
the  Synod  of  Nicaea.  For  they  added  to  the 
charges  which  false  witnesses  had  heaped  up 
against  him,  this  one,  that,  with  wicked  inten- 
tions, he  had  received '  Marcellus  and  Photinus, 
heretical  priests  who  had  been  condemned  by  a 
sentence  of  the  Synod.  Now,  it  was  not  doubt- 
ful as  to  Photinus  that  he  had  been  justly  con- 
demned. But  in  the  case  of  Marcellus,  it 
seemed  that  nothing  had  then  been  found 
worthy  of  condemnation,  and-  a  belief  in  his 
innocence  was  above  all  strengthened  by  the 
animus  of  that  party,  inasmuch  as  no  one 
doubted  that  those  same  judges  were  hereti- 
cal by  whom  he  had  been  condemned.  But 
the  Arians  did  not  so  much  desire  to  get  these 
persons  out  of  the  way  as  Athanasius  him- 
self. Accordingly,  they  constrain  the  emperor 
to  go  so  far  as  this,  that  x^thanasius  should  be 
sent  as  an  exile  into  Gaul.  But  ere  long,  eighty 
bishops,  assembling  together  in  Egypt,  declare 
that  Athanasius  had  been  unjustly  condemned. 
The  matter  is  referred  to  Constantine :  he 
orders^  bishops  from  the  whole  world  to  assem- 
ble at  Sardes,  and  that  the  entire  process  by 
which  Athanasius  had  been  condemned,  should 
be  reconsidered  by  the  council.  In  the  mean- 
time, Constantine  dies,  but  the  Synod,  called 
together  while  he  was  yet  emperor,  acquits 
Athanasius.  Marcellus,  too,  is  restored  to  his 
bishopric,  but  the  sentence  on  Photinus,  bishop 
of  Sirmion,  was  not  rescinded  ;  for  even'*  in  the 
judgment  of  our  friends,  he  is  regarded  as  a 
heretic.  However,  even  this  result  chagrined 
Marcellus,  because  Photinus  was  known  to  have 
been  his  disciple  in  his  youth.  But  this,  too, 
tended  to  secure  an  acquittal  for  Athanasius, 
that  Ursatius  and  Valens,  leading  men  among 
the  Arians,  when  they  were  openly  separated 
from  the  communion  of  the  Church  after  the 
Synod  at  Sardes,  entering  into  the  presence  of 


1  Dinerent  periods  and  events  are  here  mixed  up  by  our  author. 

2  Tile  text  is  iu  utter  confusion,  and  we  can  only  make  a  prob- 
able guess  at  the  meaning. 

3  It  has  been  remarked  that  Sulpitius  is  in  error  in  ascribing  the 
summoninj;  of  this  council  to  Constantine  the  Great,  instead  of  his 
son  Constantine  II.  The  curious  thing  is  that  he  should  have  made 
a  mistake  regarding  an  event  so  near  his  own  time. 

*  "  qui  etiam  nostrorum  judicio  haereticus  probatur." 


Julius,  bishop  of  Rome,  asked  pardon  of  him 
for  having  condemned  the  innocent,  and  publicly 
declared  that  he  had  been  justly  acquitted  by 
the  decree  of  the  Council  of  Sardes. 


CHAPTER  XXXVII. 

When,  after  an  interval  of  some  time  had 
elapsed,  Athanasius,  finding  that  Marcellus  was 
by  no  means  sound  in  the  faith,  suspended  him 
from  communion.  And  he  had  this  degree  of 
modesty,  that,  being  censured  by  the  judgment 
of  so  great  a  man,  he  voluntarily  gave  way.  But 
though  at  a  former  period  innocent,  yet  con- 
fessedly afterwards  becoming  heretical,  it  may 
be  allowed  to  conclude  that  he  was  really  then 
guilty  when  judgment  was  pronounced  regard- 
ing him.  The  Arians,  then,  finding  an  oppor- 
tunity of  that  kind,  conspire  to  subvert  alto- 
gether the  decrees  of  the  Synod  of  Sardes.  For 
a  certain  coloring  of  right  seemed  to  be  fur- 
nished them  in  this  fact,  that  a  favorable  judg- 
ment had  as  unjustly  been  formed  on  the  side 
of  Athanasius,  as  Marcellus  had  been  improp- 
erly acquitted,  since  now,  even  in  the  opinion 
of  Athanasius  himself,  he  was  deemed  a  heretic. 
For  INIarcellus  had  stood  for^vard  as  an  upholder 
of  the  Sabellian  heresy.^  But  Photinus  had 
already  brought  forward  a  new  heresy,  differing 
indeed  from  Sabellius  with  respect  to  the  union 
of  the  divine  persons,  but  proclaiming  that 
Christ  had  his  beginning  in  Mary.  The  Arians, 
therefore,  with  cunning  design,  mix  up  what 
was  harmless  with  what  was  blameworthy,  and 
embrace,  under  the  same  judgment,  the  con- 
demnation of  Photinus,  and  Marcellus,  and 
Athanasius.  They  undoubtedly  did  this  with 
the  view  of  leading  the  minds  of  the  ignorant  to 
conclude,  that  those  had  not  judged  incorrectly 
regarding  Athanasius,  who,  it  was  admitted,  had 
expressed  a  well-based  opinion  respecting  Mar- 
cellus and  Photinus.  At  that  time,  however, 
the  Arians  concealed  their  treachery ;  and 
not  daring  openly  to  proclaim  their  erroneous 
doctrines,  they  professed  themselves  Catholics. 
They  thought  that  their  first  great  object  should 
be  to  get  Athanasius  turned  out  of  the  church, 
who  had  always  presented  a  wall  of  opposition 
to  their  endeavors,  and  they  hoped  that,  if  he 
were  removed,  the  rest  would  pass  over  to  their 
evil-  opinion.  Now,  that  part  of  the  bishops 
which  followed  the  Arians  accepted  the  con- 
demnation of  Athanasius  with  delight.  Another 
part,  constrained  by  fear  and  faction,  yielded  to 
the  wish  of  the  Arian  party ;  and  only  a  few,  to 

1  As  Epiphanius  remarks,  Sabellius  taught  that  the  Father, 
Son,  and  Holy  Ghost  were  all  the  same  person,  only  under  different 
appellations. 

■'  "  libidinem." 


THE   SACRED    HISTORY    OF    SULPITIUS    SEVERUS. 


115 


whom  the  true  faith  was  dearer  than  any  other 
consideration,  refused  to  accept  their  unjust 
judgment.  Among  these  was  PauUnus,  the 
bishop  of  Treves.  It  is  related  that  he,  when 
a  letter  on  the  subject  was  placed  before  him, 
thus  wrote,  that  he  gave  his  consent  to  the  con- 
demnation of  Photinus  and  Marcellus,  but  did 
not  approve  that  of  Athanasius. 


CHAPTER  XXXVIII. 

But  then  the  Arians,  seeing  that  stratagem 
did   not   succeed,    determined    to   proceed   by 
force.     For  it  was  easy  for  those  to    attempt 
and  carry  out  anything  who  were  supported  by 
the    favor   of    the    monarch,    whom    they   had 
thoroughly  won   over  to  themselves  by  wicked 
flatteries.     Moreover,  they  were  by  the  consent 
of  all  unconquerable  ;  for  almost  all  the  bishops 
of  the  two  Pannonias,  and  many  of  the  Eastern 
bishops,    and   those    throughout    all    Asia,   had 
joined   in    their   unfaithfulness.     But  the   chief 
men   in   that   evil   company   were   Ursatius    of 
Singidunum,   Valens  of    Mursa,   Theodorus   of 
Heraclia,      Stephanus      of     Antioch,     Acatius 
of  Csesarea,  Menofantus  of  Ephesus,  Georgius 
of  Laodicia,    and    Narcissus    of    Neronopolis. 
These  had  got  possession  of  the  palace  to  such 
an  extent  that  the  emperor  did  nothing  without 
their  concurrence.     He  was  indeed  at  the  beck 
of  all  of  them,  but  was  especially  under  the  in- 
fluence of  Valens.     For  at  that  time,   when  a 
battle  was  fought  at  Mursa  against  Magnentius, 
Constantius  had  not  the  courage  to  go  down  to 
witness  for  himself  the  conflict,  but  took  up  his 
abode  in  a  church  of  the   martyrs  which  stood 
outside   the    town,   Valens   who    was    then   the 
bishop  of  the  place  being  with  him  to  keep  up 
his   courage.     But   Valens    had    cunningly   ar- 
ranged, through  means  of  his   agents,   that   he 
should  be  the  first  to  be  made   acquainted  with 
the  result  of  the  batde.     He  did  this  either  to 
gain  the  favor  of  the  king,  if  he  should  be  the 
first  to  convey  to  him  good  news,  or  with  a  view 
to  saving  his   own  life,  since  he  would  obtain 
time  for  flight,  should  the  issue  prove  unfortu- 
nate.    Accordingly,  the  few  persons  who  were 
with  the  king  being  in  a  state  of  alarm,  and  the 
emperor  himself  being  a  prey  to  anxiety,  Valens 
was  the  first  to  announce  to  them  the  flight  of 
the  enemy.     When   Constandus   requested   that 
the  person  who  had  brought  the  news  should  be 
introduced  to  his  presence,  Valens,  to  increase 
the  reverence  felt  for  himself,  said  that  an  angel 
was  the  messenger  who  had  come  to  him.     The 
emperor,  who  was  easy  of  belief,  was  accustomed 
afterwards  openly  to  declare  that  he  had  won 
the  victory  through  the  merits  of  Valens,  and 
not  by  the  valor  of  his  army. 


CHAPTER   XXXIX. 

From  this    first    proof   that    the   prince    had 
been  won  over  to  their  side,  the  Arians  plucked 
up  their  courage,  knowing  that  they  ct)uld  make 
use  of  the  power  of  the  king,  when  they  could 
make  little  impression  by  their  own  authority. 
Accordingly,  when  our  friends  did  not  accept  of 
the  judgment  which  they  had  pronounced    in 
regard  to  Athanasius,  an  edict  was  issued  by  the 
emperor  to  the  effect  that  those  who  did  not  sub- 
scribe to  the  condemnation  of  Athanasius  should 
be  sent   into   banishment.     But,  at    that   time, 
councils  of  bishops  were  held  by  our  friends  at 
Aries  and  Bitterse,  towns  situated  in  Gaul.  They 
requested  that  before  any  were  compelled  to  sub- 
scribe against  Athanasius,  they  should  rather  enter 
on  a  discussion  as  to  the  true  faith  ;  and  main- 
tained that  only  then  was  a  decision  to  be  come 
to  respecting  the  point  in  question,  when  they 
had  agreed  as  to  the  person  of  the  judges.^    But 
Valens  and   his  confederates  not  venturirlg  on 
a  discussion  respecting  the   faith,  first  desired 
to  secure  by  force  the  condemnation  of  Athan- 
asius.    Owing  to  this  conflict  of  parties,  PauU- 
nus was  driven  into  banishment.     In  the  mean- 
time, an  assembly  was  held  at  Milan,  where  the 
emperor  then  was  ;  but  the  same  controversy  was 
there  continued  without  any  relaxation  of  its  bit- 
terness.    Then  Eusebius,  bishop  of  the  Vercel- 
lenses,  and  Lucifer,  bishop  of  Caralis'  in  Sardinia, 
were  exiled.    Dionysius,  however,  priest  of  Milan, 
subscribed  to  the  condemnation  of  Athanasius,  on 
the  condition  that  there  should  be  an  investiga- 
tion among  the  bishops  as  to  the  true  faith.    But 
Valens  and  Ursatius,  with  the  rest  of  that  party, 
through  fear  of  the  people,  who  maintained  the 
Catholic    faith   with    extraordinary    enthusiasm, 
did   not  venture    to    set    forth    in    public  their 
monstrous^  doctrines,  but  assembled  within  the 
palace.    From  that  place,  and  under  the  name  of 
the  emperor,  they  issued  a  letter  full  ^  of  all  sorts 
of  wickedness,  with  this  purpose,  no  doubt,  that, 
if  the  people  gave  it  a   favorable  hearing,  they 
should    then    bring    forward,    under    public    au- 
thority, the  things  which  they  desired  ;  but  if  it 
should  be  received  otherwise,  that  all  the  ill  feel- 
ing might  be  directed  against  the  king,  while  his 
mistake  might  be  regarded  as  excusable,  because 
being  then  only  a  catechumen,  he  might  readily 
be  supposed  to  have  erred  concerning  the  mys- 
teries of  the  faith.      Well,   when  the  letter  was 
read  in  the  church,  the  people   expressed  their 
aversion  to  it.     And  Dionysius,  because  he  did 
not  concur  with  them,  was   banished   from   the 
city,  while  Auxentius  was  immediately  chosen  as 

1  The  text  is  here  in  utter  confusion  and  uncertainty.  Some  for 
"  ac  turn  "  read  "  nee  turn,"  and  some,  instead  of  "  judicum  "  read 
"judicium."     The  meaning  therefore  can  only  be  guessed  at.  ^ 

=  The  modern  Cagliari.  ,  '  "  Piacula  profiteri. 

*  Instead  of  "  refertam,"  some  read  "  infectam. " 


ii6 


THE   WRITINGS    OF    SULPITIUS    SEVERUS. 


bishop  in  his  place.  Liberius,  too,  bishop  of 
the  city  of  Rome,  and  Hilarius,  bishop  of  Poic- 
tiers,  were  driven  into  exile.  Rhodanius,  also, 
bishop  of  Toulouse  (who,  being  by  nature  of  a 
softer  disposition,  had  resisted  the  Arians,  not 
so  much  from  his  own  powers  as  from  his  fellow- 
ship with  Hilarius)  was  involved  in  the  same 
punishment.  All  these  persons,  however,  were 
prepared  to  suspend  Athanasius  from  commun- 
ion, only  in  order  that  an  inquiry  mignt  be  in- 
stituted among  the  bishops  as  to  the  true  faith. 
But  it  seemed  best  to  the  Arians  to  withdraw  the 
most  celebrated  men  from  the  controversy.  Ac- 
cordingly, those  whom  we  have  mentioned  above 
were  driven  into  exile,  forty-five  years  ago,  when 
Arbitio  and  Lollianus  were  consuls.  Liberius, 
however,  was,  a  litde  afterwards,  restored  to  the 
city,  in  consequence  of  the  disturbances  at 
Rome.  But  it  is  well  known  that  the  persons 
exiled  were  celebrated  by  the  admiration  of  the 
whole  world,  and  that  abundant  supplies  of 
money  were  collected  to  meet  their  wants,  while 
they  were  visited  by  deputies  of  the  Catholic 
people  from  almost  all  the  provinces. 


CHAPTER   XL. 

In  the  meantime,  the  Arians,  not  secretly,  as 
before,  but  openly  and  publicly  proclaimed  their 
monstrous  heretical  doctrines.  Moreover,  they 
interpreted  after  their  own  views  the  Synod  of 
Nicnea,  and  by  the  addition  of  one  letter  to  its 
finding,  threw  a  sort  of  obscurity  over  the  truth. 
For  where  the  expression  Homoousion  had  been 
written,  which  denotes  "  of  one  substance,"  they 
maintained  that  it  was  written  Ho)noiousio7i, 
which  simply  means  "  of  like  substance."  They 
thus  granted  a  likeness,  but  took  away  unity ; 
for  likeness  is  very  different  from  unity ;  just  as, 
for  illustration's  sake,  a  picture  of  a  human  body 
might  be  like  a  man,  and  yet  possess  nothing  of 
the  reality  of  a  man.  But  some  of  them  went 
even  farther,  and  maintained  Anomoioiisia,  that 
is,  an  unlike  substance.  And  to  such  a  pitch 
did  these  controversies  extend,  that  the  wide 
world  was  involved  in  these  monstrous  errors. 
For  Valens  and  Ursatius,  with  their  supporters, 
whose  names  we  have  stated,  infected  Italy, 
Illyria,  and  the  East  with  these  opinions.  Satur- 
ninus,  bishop  of  Aries,  a  violent  and  factious 
man,  harassed  our  country  of  Gaul  in  like  man- 
ner. There  was  also  a  prevalent  belief  that 
Osius  froni  Spain  had  gone  over  to  the  same 
unfaithful  party,  which  appears  all  the  more 
wonderful  and  incredible  on  this  account,  that 
he  had  been,  almost  during  his  whole  life,  the 
most  determined  upholder  of  our  views,  and  the 
Synod  of  Nice  was  regarded  as  having  been  held 
at  his  instigation.     If  he  did  go  over,  the  reason 


may  have  been  that  in  his  extreme  old  age  (for 
he  was  then  more  than  a  centenarian,  as  St. 
Hilarius  relates  in  his  epistles)  he  had  fallen 
into  dotage.  While  the  world  was  disturbed  by 
these  things,  and  the  churches  were  languishing 
as  if  from  a  sort  of  disease,  an  anxiety,  less 
exciting  indeed,  but  no  less  serious,  pressed 
upon  the  emperor,  that  although  the  Arians, 
whom  he  favored,  appeared  the  stronger,  yet 
there  was  still  no  agreement  among  the  bishops 
concerning  the  faith. 


CHAPTER  XLI. 

Accordingly,  the  emperor  orders  a  Synod  to 
assemble  at  Ariminum,  a  city  of  Italy,  and  in- 
structs Taurus  the  prefect,  not  to  let  them  sepa- 
rate, after  they  were  once  assembled,  until  they 
should  agree  as  to  one  faith,  at  the  same  time 
promising  him  the  consulship,  if  he  carried  the 
affair  to  a  successful  termination.  Imperial ' 
officers,  therefore,  being  sent  through  Illyria, 
Italy,  Africa,  and  the  two  Gauls,  four  hundred 
and  rather  more  Western  bishops  were  sum- 
moned or  compelled  to  assemble  at  Ariminum  ; 
and  for  all  of  these  the  emperor  had  ordered 
provisions^  and  lodgings  to  be  provided.  But 
that  appeared  unseemly  to  the  men  of  our  part 
of  the  world,  that  is,  to  the  Aquitanians,  the 
Gauls,  and  Britons,  so  that  refusing  the  public 
supphes,  they  preferred  to  live  at  their  own 
expense.  Three  only  of  those  from  Britain, 
through  want  of  means  of  their  own,  made  use 
of  the  public  bounty,  after  having  refused  con- 
tributions offered  by  the  rest ;  for  they  thought 
it  more  dutiful  to  burden  the  public  treasury 
than  individuals.  I  have  heard  that  Gavidius, 
our  bishop,  was  accustomed  to  refer  to  this  con- 
duct in  a  censuring  sort  of  way,  but  I  would  be 
inclined  to  judge  far  otherwise  ;  and  I  hold  it 
matter  of  admiradon  that  the  bishops  had  noth- 
ing of  their  own,  while  they  did  not  accept 
assistance  from  others  rather  than  from  the 
public  treasury,  so  that  they  burdened  nobody. 
In  both  points,  they  thus  furnished  us  with  a 
noble  example.  Nothing  worthy  of  mention  is 
recorded  of  the  others  ;  but  I  return  to  the  sub- 
ject in  hand.  After  all  the  bishops  had  been 
collected  together,  as  we  have  said,  a  separation 
of  parties  took  place.  Our  friends^  take  pos- 
session of  the  church,  while  the  Arians  select,  as 
a  place  for  prayer,  a  temple  which  was  then  in- 
tentionally standing  empty.  But  these  did  not 
amount  to  more  than  eighty  persons  :  the  rest 
belonged  to  our  party.  Well,  after  frequent 
meetings    had    been   held,    nothing   was   really 


1  *'  magistris  officialibiis":  Halm  reads  "  magistri." 

2  "  annonas  et  cellaria." 

'  Of  course,  the  Catholics,  or  orthodox. 


THE   SACRED    HISTORY   OE    SULPITIUS    SEVERUS. 


117 


accomplished,  our  friends  continuing  in  the 
faith,  and  the  others  not  abandoning  their  un- 
faithfuhiess.  At  length  it  was  resolved  to  send 
ten  deputies  to  the  emperor,  that  he  might  learn 
what  was  the  faith  or  opinion  of  the  parties,  and 
might  know  that  there  could  be  no  peace  with 
heretics.  The  Arians  do  the  same  thing,  and 
send  a  like  number  of  deputies,  who  should  con- 
tend with  our  friends  in  the  presence  of  the 
emperor.  But  on  the  part  of  our  people,  young 
men  of  but  little  learning  and  little  prudence 
had  been  selected ;  while,  on  the  side  of  the 
Arians,  old  men  were  sent,  skillful  and  abounding 
in  talent,  thoroughly  imbued,  too,  with  their  old 
unfaithful  doctrines  ;  and  these  easily  got  the 
upper  hand  with  the  prince.  But  our  friends 
had  been  specially  charged  not  to  enter  into  any 
kind  of  communion  with  the  Arians,  and  to 
reserve  every  point,  in  its  entirety,  for  discussion 
in  a  Synod. 


CHAPTER   XLII. 

Ix  the  meantime  in  the  East,  after  the  example 
of  the  West,  the  emperor  ordered  almost  all  the 
bishops  to  assemble  at  Seleucia,  a  town  of 
Isauria.  At  that  time,  Hilarius,  who  was  now 
spending  the  fourth  year  of  his  exile  in  Phrygia, 
is  compelled  to  be  present  among  the  other 
bishops,  the  means  of  a  public  conveyance 
being  furnished  to  him  by  the  lieutenant  ^  and 
governor.  As,  however,  the  emperor  had  given 
no  special  orders  regarding  him,  the  judges, 
simply  following  the  general  order  by  which 
they  were  commanded  to  gather  all  bishops  to 
the  council,  sent  him  also  among  the  rest  who 
were  willing  to  go.  This  was  done,  as  I  imagine, 
by  the  special  ordination  of  God,  in  order  that 
a  man  who  was  most  deeply  instructed  in  divine 
things,  might  be  present  Avhen  a  discussion  was 
to  be  carried  on  respecting  the  faith.  He,  on 
arriving  at  Seleucia,  w^as  received  with  great 
favor,  and  drew  the  minds  and  affections  of  all 
towards  himself.  His  first  imjuiry  was  as  to  the 
real  faith  of  the  Gauls,  because  at  that  time  the 
Arians  had  spread  evil  reports  regarding  us,  and 
we  were  held  suspected  by  the  Easterns  as  hav- 
ing embraced  the  belief  of  Sabellius,  to  the 
effect  that  the  unity  of  the  one  God  was  simply 
distinguished "  by  a  threefold  name.  But  after 
he  had  set  forth  his  faith  in  harmony  with  those 
conclusions  which  had  been  reached  by  the 
fathers  at  Nicaea,  he  bore  his  testimony  in 
favor  of  the  Westerns.  Thus  the  minds  of  all 
having  been  satisfied,  he  was  admitted  to  com- 

*  "  per  vicarium  ac  praesidem":  as  Vorstius  remarks,  these  were 
the  two  magistrates  of  Phrygia. 

-  "  trionymam  solitarii  Dei  unionem":  Hornius  here  remarks 
that  "  Sabellius  believed  that  the  Father,  the  Son,  and  the  Holy 
Spirit  were  the  same,  and  differed  among  themselves  only  in  nam;." 


munion,  and  being  also  received  into  alliance, 
was  addeil  to  the  council.  They  then  pro- 
ceeded to  actual  work,  and  the  originators  of 
the  wicked  heresy  being  discovered,  were  sepa- 
rated from  the  body  of  the  Church.  In  that 
number  were  Georgius  of  Alexandria,  Acacius, 
Eudoxius,  Vranius,  Leontius,  Theodosius,  Eva- 
grius,  Theodulus.  But  when  the  Synod  was 
over,  an  embassy  was  appointed  to  go  to  the 
emperor  and  make  him  acquainted  with  what 
had  been  done.  Those  who  had  been  con- 
demned also  went  to  the  prince,  relying  upon 
the  power  of  their  confederates,  and  a  common 
cause  with  the  monarch. 


CHAPTER   XLIII. 

In  the  meantime,  the  emperor  compels  those 
deputies  of  our  party  who  had  been  sent  from 
the  council  at  Ariminum  to  join  in  communion 
with  the  heretics.  At  the  same  time,  he  hands 
them  a  confession  of  faith  w^hich  had  been 
drawn  up  by  these  wicked  men,  and  which, 
being  expressed  in  deceptive  terms,  seemed  to 
exhibit  the  Catholic  faith,  while  unfoithfulness 
secretly  lay  hid  in  it.  For  under  an  appearance 
of  false  reasoning,  it  abolished  the  use  of  the 
word  Oiisia  as  being  ambiguous,  and  as  having 
been  too  hastily  adopted  by  the  fathers,  while 
it  rested  upon  no  Scriptural  authority.  The 
object  of  this  was  that  the  Son  might  not  be 
believed  to  be  of  one  substance  with  the  Father. 
The  same  confession  of  faith  acknowledged  that 
the  Son  was  like  the  Father.  But  deception  was 
carefully  prepared  within  the  words,  in  order 
that  he  might  be  like,  but  not  equal.  Thus, 
the  deputies  being  sent  away,  orders  were  given 
to  the  prefect  that  he  should  not  dissolve  the 
Synod,  until  all  professed  by  their  subscriptions 
their  agreement  to  the  declaration  of  faith  which 
had  been  drawn  up  ;  and  if  any  should  hold 
back  with  excessive  obstinacy,  they  should  be 
driven  into  banishment,  provided  their  number 
did  not  amount  to  fifteen.  But  when  the  depu- 
ties returned,  they  were  refused  communion, 
although  they  pleaded  the  force  which  had  been 
brought  to  bear  upon  them  by  the  king.  For 
when  it  was  discovered  what  had  been  decreed, 
greater  disturbance  arose  in  their  affairs  and 
purposes.  Then  by  degrees  numbers  of  our 
people,  partly  overcome  through  the  weakness 
of  their  character,  and  pardy  influenced  by  the 
thought  of  a  weary  journeying  into  foreign  lands, 
surrendered  to  the  opposite  party.  These  were 
now,  on  the  return  of  the  deputies,  the  stronger 
of  the  two  bodies,  and  had  taken  possession 
of  the  church,  our  friends  being  driven  out  of 
it.  And  when  the  minds  of  our  people  once 
began  to  incline  in  that  direction,  they  rushed 


ii8 


THE    WRITINGS    OF    SULPITIUS    SEVERUS. 


in  flocks  over  to  the  other  side,  until  the  num- 
ber of  our  friends  was  diminished  down  to 
twenty. 


CHAPTER   XLIV. 

But  these,  the  fewer  they  became,  showed 
themselves  all  the  more  powerful ;  as  the  most 
steadfast  among  them  was  to  be  reckoned  our 
friend  Foegadius,  and  Servatio,  bishop  of  the 
Tungri.  As  these  had  not  yielded  to  threats 
and  terrors,  Taurus  assails  them  with  entreaties, 
and  beseeches  them  with  tears  to  adopt  milder 
counsels.  He  argued  that  the  bishops  were 
now  in  the  seventh  month  since  they  had  been 
shut  up  within  one  city  —  that  no  hope  of 
returning  home  presented  itself  to  them,  worn 
out  by  the  inclemency  of  winter  and  positive 
want ;  and  what  then  would  be  the  end  ?  He 
urged  them  to  follow  the  example  of  the  ma- 
jority, and  to  derive  authority  for  so  doing  at 
least  from  the  numbers  who  had  preceded  them. 
For  Foegadius  openly  declared  that  he  was  pre- 
pared for  banishment,  and  for  every  kind  of 
punishment  that  might  be  assigned  him,  but 
would  not  accept  that  confession  of  faith  which 
had  been  drawn  up  by  the  Arians.  Thus  several 
days  passed  in  this  sort  of  discussion.  And  when 
they  made  little  progress  towards  a  pacification, 
by  degrees  Foegadius  began  to  yield,  and  at  the 
last  was  overcome  by  a  proposal  which  was  made 
to  him.  For  Valens  and  Ursatius  affirmed  that 
the  present  confession  of  faith  was  drawn  up  on 
the  lines  of  Catholic  doctrine,  and  having  been 
brought  forward  by  the  Easterns  at  the  instiga- 
tion of  the  emperor,  could  not  be  rejected  with- 
out impiety ;  and  what  possible  end  of  strife 
could  there  be  if  a  confession  Avhich  satisfied 
the  Easterns  was  rejected  by  those  of  the  West? 
Finally,  if  there  appeared  anything  less  fully 
stated  in  the  present  confession  than  was  de- 
sirable, they  themselves  should  add  what  they 
thought  ought  to  be  added,  and  that  they,  for 
their  part,  would  acquiesce  in  those  things  which 
might  be  added.  This  friendly  profession  was 
received  with  favorable  minds  by  all.  Nor  did 
our  people  venture  any  longer  to  make  opposi- 
tion, desiring  as  they  did  in  some  way  or  other 
now  to  put  an  end  to  the  business.  Then  con- 
fessions drawn  up  by  Foegadius  and  Servatio 
began  to  be  published  ;  and  in  these  first  Arius 
and  his  whole  unfaithful  scheme  was  condemned, 
while  the  Son  of  God  also  was  ^  pronounced  equal 
to  the  Father,  and  without  beginning,  [that  is] 
without  any   commencement"   in   time.     Then 

'  The  text  is  very  iincert:iin;  we  have  followed  that  of  Halm, 
but  the  common  text  inserts  a  "  non,"  and  reads  thus:  "  but  the  Son 
of  God  is  not  pronounced  equal  to  the  Father,  and  without  begin- 
ning," etc. 

"  "  sine  tempore." 


Valens,  as  if  assisting  our  friends,  subjoined  the 
statement  (in  which  there  lurked  a  secret  guile) 
that  the  Son  of  God  was  not  a  creature  like  the 
other  creatures ;  and  the  deceit  involved  in  this 
declaration  escaped  the  notice  of  the  hearers. 
For  in  these  words,  in  which  the  Son  was  denied 
to  be  like  the  other  creatures,  he  was  neverthe- 
less pronounced  a  creature,  only  superior  to  the 
rest.  Thus  neither  party  could  hold  that  it  had 
wholly  conquered  or  had  wholly  been  conquered, 
since  the  confession  itself  was  in  favor  of  the 
Arians,  but  the  declarations  afterwards  added 
were  in  favor  of  our  friends.  That  one,  how- 
ever, must  be  excepted  which  Valens  had  sub- 
joined, and  which,  not  being  at  the  time  under- 
stood, was  at  length  comprehended  when  it  was 
too  late.  In  this  way,  at  any  rate,  the  council 
was  brought  to  an  end,  a  council  which  had  a 
good  beginning  but  a  disgraceful  conclusion. 


CHAPTER   XLV. 

Thus,  then,  the  Arians,  with  their  affairs  in  a 
very  flourishing  condition,  and  everything  turn- 
ing out  according  to  their  wishes,  go  in  a  body 
to  Constantinople  where  the  emperor  was. 
There  they  found  the  deputies  from  the  Synod 
of  Seleucia,  and  compel  them  by  an  exercise  of 
the  royal  power  to  follow  the  example  of  the 
Westerns,  and  accept  that  heretical  confession 
of  faith.  Numbers  who  refused  were  tortured 
with  painful  imprisonment  and  hunger,  so  that 
at  length  they  yielded  their  conscience  captive. 
But  many  who  resisted  more  courageously, 
being  deprived  of  their  bishoprics,  were  driven 
into  exile,  and  others  substituted  in  their  place. 
Thus,  the  best  priests  being  either  terrified  by 
threats,  or  driven  into  exile,  all  gave  way  before 
the  unfaithfulness  of  a  few.  Hilarius  was  there 
at  the  time,  having  followed  the  deputies  from 
Seleucia ;  and  as  no  certain  orders  had  been 
given  regarding  him,  he  was  waiting  on  the  will 
of  the  emperor  to  see  whether  perchance  he 
should  be  ordered  to  return  into  banishment. 
When  he  perceived  the  extreme  danger  into 
which  the  faith  had  been  brought,  inasmuch  as 
the  Westerns  had  been  beguiled,  and  the  East- 
erns were  being  overcome  by  means  of  wicked- 
ness, he,  in  three  papers  publicly  i)resented, 
begged  an  audience  of  the  king,  in  order  that 
he  might  debate  on  points  of  faith  in  the  pres- 
ence of  his  adversaries.  But  the  Arians  opposed 
that  to  the  utmost  extent  of  their  ability.  Fi- 
nally, Hilarius  was  ordered  to  return  to  (Jaul,  as 
being  a  sower  ^  of  discord,  and  a  troubler  of  the 
East,  while  the  sentence  of  exile  against  him 
remained  uncanceled.  But  when  he  had  wan- 
dered over  almost  the  whole  earth  which  was  in- 

'  "  seminarium  " :  lit.  seed-plot. 


THE    SACRED    HISTORY    OF    SULPITIUS    SEVERUS. 


119 


fected  with  the  evil  of  unfaithfuhiess,  his  mind 
was  full  of  doubt  and  deeply  agitated  with  the 
mighty  burden  of  cares  which  pressed  upon  it. 
Perceiving  that  it  seemed  good  to  many  not  to 
enter  into  communion  with  those  who  had  ac- 
knowledged the  Synod  of  Ariminum,  he  thought 
the  best  thing  he  could  do  was  to  bring  back  all 
to  repentance  and  reformation.  In  frequent 
councils  within  Gaul,  and  while  almost  all  the 
bishops  publicly  owned  the  error  that  had  been 
committed,  he  condemns  the  proceedings  at 
Ariminum,  and  frames  anew  the  faith  of  the 
churches  after  its  pristine  form.  Saturninus, 
however,  bishop  of  Aries,  who  was,  in  truth,  a 
very  bad  man,  of  an  evil  and  corrupt  character, 
resisted  these  sound  measures.  He  was,  in  fact, 
a  man  who,  besides  the  infamy  of  being  a  here- 
tic, was  convicted  of  many  unspeakable  crimes, 
and  cast  out  of  the  Church.  Thus,  having  lost 
its  leader,  the  strength  of  the  party  opposed  to 
Hilarius  was  broken.  Paternus  also  of  Petro- 
corii,^  equally  infatuated,  and  not  shrinking  from 
openly  professing  unfaithfulness,  was  expelled 
from  the  priesthood  :  pardon  was  extended  to 
the  others.  This  fact  is  admitted  by  all,  that 
our  regions  of  Gaul  were  set  free  from  the  guilt 
of  heresy  through  the  kind  efforts  of  Hilarius 
alone.  But  Lucifer,  who  was  then  at  Antioch, 
tield  a  very  different  opinion.  For  he  con- 
demned those  who  assembled  at  Ariminum  to 
such  an  extent,  that  he  even  separated  him- 
self from  the  communion  of  those  who  had 
received  them  as  friends,  afcer  they  had  made 
satisfaction  or  exhibited  penitence.  Whether 
this  resolution  of  his  was  right  or  wrong,  I  will 
not  take  upon  me  to  say.  Paulinus  and  Rho- 
danius  died  in  Phrygia ;  Hilarius  died  in  his 
native  country  in  the  sixth  year  after  his  return. 


CHAPTER   XLVI. 

There  follow  the  times  of  our  own  day,  both 
difficult  and  dangerous.  In  these  the  churches 
have  been  defiled  with  no  ordinary  evil,  and  all 
things  thrown  into  confusion.  For  then,  for  the 
first  time,  the  infamous  heresy  of  the  Gnostics 
was  detected  in  Spain  —  a  deadly  ^  supersti- 
tion which  concealed  itself  under  mystic  ^  rites. 
The  birthplace  of  that  mischief  was  the  East, 
and  specially  Egypt,  but  from  what  beginnings 
it  there  sprang  up  and  increased  is  not  easy  to 
explain.  Marcus  was  the  first  to  introduce  it 
into  Spain,  having  set  out  from  Egypt,  his  birth- 
place being  Memphis.  His  pupils  were  a  cer- 
tain Agape,  a  woman  of  no  mean  origin,  and  a 


^  The  modern  Peri<;Hi'itx. 

^  "  superstitio  exitiabilis  ":  the  very  words  which  Tacitus  em- 
ploys, when  speaking  of  Christianity  itself  {Atnia!.  xv.  44). 

-  "  arcanis  occultata  secretis":  it  is  impossible  to  say  what  is 
the  exact  meaning  of  these  words. 


rhetorician  named  Helpidius.  By  these  again 
Priscillian  was  instructed,  a  man  of  noble  birth, 
of  great  riches,  bold,  restless,  eloquent,  learned 
through  much  reading,  very  ready  at  debate  and 
discussion  —  in  fact,  altogether  a  happy  man,  if 
he  had  not  ruined  an  excellent  intellect  by 
wicked  studies.  Undoubtedly,  there  were  to 
be  seen  in  him  many  admirable  qualities  both 
of  mind  and  body.  He  was  able  to  spend  much 
time  in  watchfulness,  and  to  endure  both  hunger 
and  thirst ;  he  had  little  desire  for  amassing 
wealth,  and  he  was  most  economical  in  the  use 
of  it.  Put  at  the  same  time  he  was  a  very  vain 
man,  and  was  much  more  puffed  up  than  he 
ought  to  have  been  with  the  knowledge  of  mere 
earthly  ^  things  :  moreover,  it  was  believed  that 
he  had  practised  magical  arts  from  his  boyhood. 
He,  after  having  himself  adopted  the  pernicious 
system  referred  to,  drew  into  its  acceptance 
many  persons  of  noble  rank  and  multitudes  of 
the  common  people  by  the  arts  of  persuasion 
and  flattery  which  he  possessed.  Besides  this, 
women  who  were  fond  of  novelties  and  of  un- 
stable faith,  as  well  as  of  a  prurient  curiosity  in 
all  things,  flocked  to  him  in  crowds.  It  in- 
creased this  tendency  that  he  exhibited,  a  kind 
of  humility  in  his  countenance  and  manner,  and 
thus  excited  in  all  a  greater  honor  and  respect 
for  himself.  And  now  by  degrees  the  wasting 
disorder  of  that  heresy  ■*  had  pervaded  the  most 
of  Spain,  and  even  some  of  the  bishops  came 
under  its  depraving  influence.  Among  these, 
Instantius  and  Salvianus  had  taken  up  the  cause 
of  Priscilhan,  not  only  by  expressing  their  con- 
currence in  his  views,  but  even  by  binding  them- 
selves to  him  with  a  kind  of  oath.  This  went  on 
until  Hyginus,  bishop  of  Cordova,  who  dwelt  in 
the  vicinity,  found  out  how  matters  stood,  and 
reported  the  whole  to  Ydacius,  priest  of  Eme- 
rita.  But  he,  by  harassing  Instantius  and  his 
confederates  without  measure,  and  beyond  what 
the  occasion  called  for,  applied,  as  it  were,  a 
torch  to  the  growing  conflagration,  so  that  he 
rather  exasperated  than  suppressed  these  evil 
men. 


CHAPTER  XLVII. 

So,  then,  after  many  controversies  among  them, 
which  are  not  worthy  of  mention,  a  Synod  was 
assembled  at  Saragossa,  at  which  even  the  Aqui- 
tanian  bishops  were  present.  But  the  heretics 
did  not  venture  to  submit  themselves  to  the  judg- 
ment of  the  council  ;  sentence,  however,  was 
passed  against  them  in  their  absence,  and  In- 
stantius and  Salivanus,  bishops,  with  Helpidius 
and  Priscillian,  laymen,  were  condemned.  It 
was  also  added  that  if  any  one  should  admit  the 


3  "  profanarum  rerum." 


perfidiae  istius.' 


I20 


THE    WRITINGS    OF    SULPITIUS    SEVERUS. 


condemned  persons  to  communion,  he  should 
understand  that  the  same  sentence  would  be 
pronounced  against  himself.  And  the  duty  was 
entrusted  to  Ithacius,  bishop  of  Sossuba,  of 
seeing  that  the  decree  of  the  bishops  was  brought 
to  the  knowledge  of  all,  and  that  Hyginus  es- 
pecially should  be  excluded  from  communion, 
who,  though  he  had  been  the  first  to  commence 
open  proceedings  against  the  heretics,  had  after- 
wards fallen  away  shamefully  and  admitted  them 
to  communion.  In  the  meantime,  Instantius 
and  Salvianus,  having  been  condemned  by  the 
judgment  of  the  priests,  appoint  as  bishop  in  the 
town  of  Aries,  Priscillian,  a  layman  indeed,  but 
the  leader  in  all  these  troubles,  and  who  had 
been  condemned  along  with  themselves  in  the 
Synod  at  Saragossa.  This  they  did  with  the 
view  of  adding  to  their  strength,  doubtless  im- 
agining that,  if  they  armed  with  sacerdotal  au- 
thority a  man  of  bold  and  subtle  character,  they 
would  find  themselves  in  a  safer  position.  But 
then  Ydacius  and  Ithacius  pressed  forward  their 
measures  more  ardently,  in  the  belief  that  the 
mischief  might  be  suppressed  at  its  beginning. 
With  unwise  counsels,  however,  they  applied  to 
secular  judges,  that  by  their  decrees  and  prose- 
cutions the  heretics  might  be  expelled  from  the 
cities.  Accordingly,  after  many  disgraceful 
squabbles,  a  rescript  was,  on  the  entreaty  of 
Ydacius,  obtained  from  Gratianus,  who  was  then 
emperor,  in  virtue  of  which  all  heretics  were 
enjoined  not  only  to  leave  churches  or  cities,  but 
to  be  driven  forth  beyond  all  the  territory  under  ^ 
his  jurisdiction.  When  this  edict  became  known, 
the  Gnostics,  distrusting  their  own  affairs,  did 
not  venture  to  oppose  the  judgment,  but  those 
of  them  who  bore  the  name  of  bishops  gave  way 
of  their  own  accord,  while  •  fear  scattered  the 
rest. 

CHAPTER   XLVIII. 

And  then  Instantius,  Salvianus,  and  Priscillian 
set  out  for  Rome,  in  order  that  before  Damasus, 
who  was  at  that  time  the  bishop  of  the  city,  they 
might  clear  themselves  of  the  charges  brought 
against  them.  Well,  their  journey  led  them 
through  the  heart  of  Aquitania,  and  being  there 
received  with  great  pomp  by  such  as  knew  no 
better,  they  spread  the  seeds  of  their  heresy. 
Above  all,  they  perverted  by  their  evil  teachings 
the  people  of  Klusa,  who  were  then  of  a  good 
and  religious  disposition.  They  were  driven 
forth  from  Bordeaux  l)y  Delfinus,  yet  lingering 
for  a  little  while  in  the  territory  of  Euchrotia,' 
they  infected  some  with  their  errors.  They  then 
pursued  the  journey  on  which  they  had  entered, 
attended  by  a  base  and  shameful  company,  among 

'  The  text  has  merely  "  extra  omnes  terras." 
'  Some  read  Euchrocia,  and  so  afterwards 


whom  were  their  wives  and  even  strange  women. 
In  the  number  of  these  was  Euchrotia  and  her 
daughter  Procula,  of  the  latter  of  whom  there 
was  a  common  report  that,  when  pregnant  through 
adultery  with  Priscillian,  she  procured  abortion 
by  the  use  of  certain  plants.  \V'hen  they  reached 
Rome  with  the  wish  of  clearing  themselves  be- 
fore Damasus,  they  were  not  even  admitted  to 
his  presence.  Returning  to  Milan,  they  found 
that  Ambrose  was  equally  opposed  to  them. 
Then  they  changed  their  plans,  with  the  view 
that,  as  they  had  not  got  the  better  of  the  two 
bishops,  who  were  at  that  time  possessed  of  the 
highest  authority,  they  might,  by  bribery  and 
flattery,  obtain  what  they  desired  from  the  em- 
peror. Accordingly,  having  won  over  Macedo- 
nius,  who  was  the  master^  of  public  services, 
they  procured  a  rescript,  by  which,  those  decrees 
which  had  formerly  been  made  being  trampled 
under  foot,  they  were  ordered  to  be  restored  to 
their  churches.  Relying  upon  this,  Instantius 
and  Priscillian  made  their  way  back  to  Spain 
(for  Salvianus  had  died  in  the  city)  ;  and  they 
then,  without  any  struggle,  recovered  the  churches 
over  which  they  had  ruled. 


CHAPTER   XLIX. 

But  the  power,  not  the  will,  to  resist,  failed 
Ithacius  ;  for  the  heretics  had  won  over  by  bribes 
Voluentius,  the  proconsul,  and  thus  consolidated 
their  own  power.  Moreover,  Ithacius  was  put 
on  his  trial,  by  these  men  as  being  a  disturber 
of  the  churches,  and  he  having  been  ordered  as 
the  result  of  a  fierce  prosecution,  to  be  carried 
off'  as  a  prisoner,  fled  in  terror  into  Gaul,  where 
he  betook  himself  to  Gregory  the  prefect.  He, 
after  he  learned  what  had  taken  place,  orders 
the  authors  of  these  tumults  to  be  brought  before 
himself,  and  makes  a  report  on  all  that  had 
occurred  to  the  emperor,  in  order  that  he  might 
close  against  the  heretics  every  means  of  flattery 
or  bribery.  But  that  was  done  in  vain  ;  because, 
through  the  licentiousness  and  power  of  a  it\4, 
all  things  were  there  to  be  purchased.  Accord- 
ingly, the  heretics  by  their  artifices,  having 
presented  Macedonius  with  a  large  sum  of 
money,  secure  that,  by  the  imperial  authority, 
the  hearing  of  the  trial  was  taken  from  the  pre- 
fect, and  transferred  to  the  lieutenant  in  Spain. 
By  that  time,  the  Spaniards  had  ceased  to  have 
a  proconsul  as  ruler,  and  officials  were  sent 
by  the  Master  to  bring  back  to  Spain  Ithacius 
who  was  then  living  at  Treves.  He,  however, 
craftily  escaped  them,  and  being  subsequently  de- 
fended by  the  bishop  Pritannius,  he  set  them  at 


2  "  magistro  officionim." 

1  This  appears  to  be  the  meaning,  but  the  text  is  obscure. 


THE    SACRED    HISTORY   OF    SULPITIUS    SEVERUS. 


121 


defiance.  Then,  too,  a  foint"  rumor  had  spread 
that  Maximus  had  assumed  imperial  power  in 
Britain,  and  would,  in  a  short  time,  make  an 
incursion  into  Gaul.  Accordingly,  Ithacius  then 
resolved,  although  his  affairs  were  in  a  ticklish 
state,  to  wait  the  arrival  of  the  new  emperor ; 
and  that,  in  the  meantime,  no  step  should  on 
his  part  be  taken.  When  therefore  Maximus, 
as  victor,  entered  the  town  of  the  Treveri,  he 
poured  forth  entreaties  full  of  ill-will  and  accusa- 
tions against  Priscillian  and  his  confederates. 
The  emperor  influenced  by  these  statements, 
sent  letters  to  the  prefect  of  Gaul  and  to  the 
lieutenant  in  Spain,  ordering  that  all  whom  that 
disgraceful '^  heresy  had  affected  should  be 
brought  to  a  Synod  at  Bordeaux.  Accordingly, 
Instantius  and  Priscillian  were  escorted  thither, 
and,  of  these,  Instantius  was  enjoined  to  plead 
his  cause  ;  and  after  he  was  found  unable  to 
clear  himself,  he  was  pronounced  unworthy  of 
the  office  of  a  bishop.  But  Priscillian,  in  order 
that  he  might  avoid  being  heard  by  the  bishops, 
appealed  to  the  emperor.  And  that  was  per- 
mitted to  be  done  through  the  want  of  resolution 
on  the  part  of  our  friends,  who  ought  either  to 
have  passed  a  sentence  even  against  one  who 
resisted  it,  or,  if  they  were  regarded  as  them- 
selves suspicious  persons,  should  have  reserved 
the  hearing  for  other  bishops,  and  should  not 
have  transferred  to  the  emperor  a  cause  involv- 
ing such  manifest  offences. 


CHAPTER   L. 

Thus,  then,  all  whom  the  process  embraced 
were  brought  before  the  king.  The  bishops 
Ydacius  and  Ithacius  followed  as  accusers ;  and 
I  would  by  no  means  blame  their  zeal  in  over- 
throwing heretics,  if  they  had  not  contended 
for  victory  with  greater  keenness  than  was  fitting. 
And  my  feeling  indeed  is,  that  the  accusers  were 
as  distasteful  to  me  as  the  accused.  I  certainly 
hold  that  Ithacius  had  no  worth  or  holiness 
about  him.  For  he  was  a  bold,  loquacious, 
impudent,  and  extravagant  man ;  excessively 
devoted  to  the  pleasures  of  sensuality.  He 
proceeded  even  to  such  a  pitch  of  folly  as  to 
charge  all  those  men,  however  holy,  who  either 
took  delight  in  reading,  or  made  it  their  object 
to  vie  with  each  other  in  the  practice  of  fasting, 
with  being  friends  or  disciples  of  Priscillian. 
The  miserable  wretch  even  ventured  publicly  to 
bring  forward  a  disgraceful  charge  of  heresy 
against  Martin,  who  was  at  that  time  a  bishop, 
and  a  man  clearly  worthy  of  being  compared  to 
the  Apostles.  For  Martin,  being  then  settled  at 
Treves,   did   not   cease   to    importune    Ithacius, 

^  "  clemens  "  :  some  read  "  Clementen."  and  join  it  with  "  Max- 
imum." -i  "labesilla." 


that  he  should  give  up  his  accusations,  or  to 
implore  Maximus  that  he  should  not  shed  the 
blood  of  the  unhappy  persons  in  question.  He 
maintained  that  it  was  quite  sufficient  punish- 
ment that,  having  been  declared  heretics  by  a 
sentence  of  the  bishops,  they  should  have  been 
expelled  from  the  churches  ;  and  that  it  was, 
besides,- a  foul  and  unheard-of  indignity,  that  a 
secular  ruler  should  be  judge  in  an  ecclesiastical 
cause.  And,  in  fact,  as  long  as  Martin  survived, 
the  trial  was  put  off;  while,  when  he  was  about 
to  leave  this  world,  he,  by  his  remarkable  influ- 
ence, obtained  a  promise  from  Maximus,  that 
no  cruel  measure  would  be  resolved  on  with 
respect  to  the  guilty  persons.  But  subsequently, 
the  emperor  being  led  astray  by  Magnus  and 
Rufus,  and  turned  from  the  milder  course  which 
Martin  had  counseled,  entrusted  the  case  to  the 
prefect  Evodius,  a  man  of  stern  and  severe 
character.  He  tried  Priscillian  in  two  assemblies, 
and  convicted  him  of  evil  conduct.  In  fact, 
PrisciUian  did  not  deny  that  he  had  given  him- 
self up  to  lewd  doctrines  ;  had  been  accustomed 
to  hold,  by  night,  gatherings  of  vile  women, 
and  to  pray  in  a  state  of  nudity.  Accordingly, 
Evodius  pronounced  him  guilty,  and  sent  him 
back  to  prison,  until  he  had  time  to  consult 
the  emperor.  The  matter,  then,  in  all  its  de- 
tails, was  reported  to  the  palace,  and  the  em- 
peror decreed  that  Priscillian  and  his  friends 
should  be  put  to  death. 


CHAPTER   LI. 

But  Ithacius,  seeing  how  much  ill-Vvill  it 
would  excite  against  him  among  the  bishops,  if 
he  should  stand  forth  as  accuser  also  at  the  last 
trial  on  a  capital  charge  (for  it  was  requisite  that 
the  trial  should  be  repeated),  withdrew  from  the 
prosecution.  His  cunning,  however,  in  thus 
acting  was  in  vain,  as  the  mischief  was  already 
accomplished.  Well,  a  certain  Patricius,  an  ad- 
vocate connected  with  the  treasury,  was  then 
appointed  accuser  by  Maximus.  Accordingly, 
under  him  as  prosecutor,  Priscillian  was  con- 
demned to  death,  and  along  with  him,  Felicissi- 
mus  and  Armenius,  who,  when  they  were  clerics, 
had  lately  adopted  the  cause  of  Priscillian,  and 
revolted  from  the  Catholics.  Latronianus,  too, 
and  Euchrotia  were  beheaded.  Instantius,  who, 
as  we  have  said  above,  had  been  condemned  by 
the  bishops,  was  transported  to  the  island  of 
Sylina^  which  lies  beyond  Britain.  A  process 
was  then  instituted  against  the  others  in  trials 
which  followed,  and  Asarivus,  and  Aurelius  the 
deacon,  were  condemned  to  be  beheaded,  while 
Tiberianus  was  deprived  of  his  goods,  and  ban- 


'  Halm  prefers  the  form  "  Sylinancim"  to  "  Sylinam."     The  ref- 
erence is  probably  to  the  Scilly  Isles. 


122 


THE   WRITINGS    OF    SULPITIUS    SEVERUS. 


ished  to  the  island  of  Sylina.  Tertullus,  Pota- 
mius,  and  Joannes,  as  being  persons  of  less  con- 
sideration, and  worthy  of  some  merciful  treat- 
ment, inasmuch  as  before  the  trial  they  had 
made  a  confession,  both  as  to  themselves  and 
their  confederates,  were  sentenced  to  a  tem- 
porary banishment  into  Gaul.  In  this  sort  of 
way,  men  who  were  most  unworthy  of  the  light 
of  day,  were,  in  order  that  they  might  serve  as 
a  terrible  example  to  others,  either  put  to  death 
or  punished  with  exile.  That  conduct  ^  which 
he  had  at  first  defended  by  his  right  of  appeal 
to  the  tribunals,  and  by  regard  to  the  public 
good,  Ithacius,  harassed'^  with  invectives,  and 
at  last  overcome,  threw  the  blame  of  upon 
those,  by  whose  direction  and  counsels  he  had 
effected  his  object.  Yet  he  was  the  only  one  of 
all  of  them  who  was  thrust  out  of  the  episcopate. 
For  Ydacius,  although  less  guilty,  had  voluntarily 
resigned  his  bishopric :  that  was  wisely  and 
respectfully  done,  had  he  not  afterward  spoiled 
the  credit  of  such  a  step  by  endeavoring  to  re- 


2  The  meaning  seems  to  be,  that  Ithacius  being  blamed  for  bring- 
ing accusations  against  his  brethren,  at  first  defended  his  conduct  by 
an  appeal  to  the  laws  and  the  public  weal,  both  of  which  justified 
the  prosecution  of  heretics;  but  being  at  last  driven  from  this  posi- 
tion, he  turned  round  and  cast  the  blame  upon  those  for  whom 
he  had  acted. 

3  Some  read  "  solitus,"  instead  of  "  soUicitus." 


cover  the  position  which  had  been  lost.  Well, 
after  the  death  of  Priscillian,  not  only  was  the 
heresy  not  suppressed,  which,  under  him,  as  its 
author,  had  burst  forth,  but  acquiring  strength, 
it  became  more  widely  spread.  For  his  follow- 
ers who  had  previously  honored  him  as  a  saint, 
subsequently  began  to  reverence  him  as  a  mar- 
tyr. The  bodies  of  those  who  had  been  put  to 
death  were  conveyed  to  Spain,  and  their  funerals 
were  celebrated  with  great  pomp.  Nay,  it  came 
to  be  thought  the  highest  exercise  of  religion  to 
swear  by  Priscillian.  But  between  them  and 
our  friends,  a  perpetual  war  of  quarreling  has 
been  kept  up.  And  that  conflict,  after  being 
sustained  for  fifteen  years  with  horrible  dissen- 
sion, could  not  by  any  means  be  set  at  rest. 
And  now  all  things  were  seen  to  be  disturbed 
and  confused  by  the  discord,  especially  of  the 
bishops,  while  everything  was  corrupted  by  them 
through  their  hatred,  partiality,  fear,  faithless- 
ness, envy,  factiousness,  lust,  avarice,  pride, 
sleepiness,  and  inactivity.  In  a  word,  a  large 
number  were  striving  with  insane  plans  and  ob- 
stinate inclinations  against  a  few  giving  wise 
counsel :  while,  in  the  meantime,  the  people  of  M 
God,  and  all  the  excellent  of  the  earth  were  ™ 
exposed  to  mockery  and  insult. 


THE  COMMONITORY 


OF 


VINCENT    OF    LERINS, 


FOR  THE    ANTIQUITY    AND    UNIVERSALITY    OF    THE    CATHOLIC    FAITH 
AGAINST   THE   PROFANE   NOVELTIES   OF    ALL   HERESIES: 

TRANSLATED    BY 

THE   REV.   C.   A.    HEURTLEY,   D.D., 

THE    LADY    MARGARET'S    PROFESSOR   OF   DIVINITY   IN   THE    UNIVERSITY   OF  OXFORD, 

AND   CANON    OF   CHRIST   CHURCH. 


CONTENTS. 


PAGE 

INTRODUCTION 127 

Chapter  I.  — The  Object  of  the  Following  Treatise 131 

Chapter  II.  —  A  General  Rule  for  distinguishing  the  Truth  of  the   Catholic   Faith   from   the 

Falsehood  of  Heretical  Pravity 132 

Chapter  III. —  A  difficulty  solved 133 

Chapter  IV.  —  The  evil  resulting  from  the  introduction  of  Novel  Doctrine  exemplified  in   the 

instances  of  the  Donatists  and  Arians 133 

Chapter  V. —  The   Example  of  the  Martyrs  whom  no  force  could  deter  from  maintaining  the 

Faith  of  their  Predecessors 134 

Chapter  VI.  —  The  example  of  Pope  Stephen  in  resisting  the  Iteration  of  Baptism 134 

Chapter  VII.  —  How  Heretics  craftily  cite  obscure    passages  in  ancient  writers  in  support  of 

their  novelties 136 

Chapter  VIII.  —  Exposition  of  St.  Paul's  words,  Gal.  i 136 

Chapter  IX.  —  St.  Paul's  warning  to  the  Galatians  a  warning  to  all       137 

Chapter  X.  —  Why  God  permits  Eminent  I\Ien  to  become  Authors  of  Novelties 137 

Chapter  XI.  —  The  words  of  Moses,  Deut.  xiii.  i,  exemplified  in  the  History  of  the  Church    .     .  138 

Chapter  XII.  —  The  Heresies  of  Photinus,  Apollinaris,  and  Nestorius 139 

Chapter  XI 1 1.  —  The  Catholic  Doctrine  of  the  Trinity  and  of  the  Incarnation 140 

Chapter  XIV.  —  Jesus  Christ  very  Man 141 

Chapter  XV.  —  The  Word  took  our  Nature  in  the  Womb  of  the  Blessed  Virgin,  whence  She  is 

truly  "  Theotocos,"  the  Mother  of  God 142 

Chapter  XVI.  — Recapitulation  of  Chapters  XIII.,  XIV.,  and  XV 143 

Chapter  XVI  I.  —  The  Error  of  Origen  a  great  Trial  to  the  Church       143 

Chapter  XVIII.  — TertuUian 145 

Chapter  XIX.  —  The  Lessons  taught  by  the  foregoing  Examples 145 

Chapter  XX.  —  The  Characteristics  of  a  true  Catholic 146 

Chapter  XXI.  —  Exposition  of  i  Tim.  vi.  20 146 

Chapter  XXII.  —  The  same  continued 147 

Chapter  XXIII.  —  Of  Development  in  Religious  Doctrine 147 

Chapter  XXIV.  —  Renewed  consideration  of  i  Tim.  vi.  20 149 

Chapter  XXV.  —  Heretics  appeal  to  Scripture 150 

Chapter  XXVI.  —  Following  therein  the  example  of  Satan 151 

Chapter  XXVII.  —  Rule  for  the  Interpretation  of  Scripture 152 

Chapter  XXVIII.  —  Rules  for  the  Detection  of  Heretical  Novelties 152 

Chapter  XXIX.  —  Recapitulation  of  the  subject  matter  of  both  Commonitories 153 

Chapter  XXX.  —  The  Council  of  Ephesus 154 

Chapter  XXXI. —  The  Example  set  by  the  Fathers  of  the  Council  of  Ephesus 155 

Chapter  XXXII.  —  The  Example  of  Popes  Celestine  and  Sixtus 155 

Chapter  XXXIII.  —  Conclusion 156 


INTRODUCTION. 


Very  little  is  known  of  the  author  of  the  following  Treatise.  He  writes  under  the 
assumed  name  of  Peregrinus,  but  Gennadius  of  Marseilles,^  who  flourished  a.d.  495,  some 
sixty  years  after  its  date,  ascribes  it  to  Vincentius,  an  inmate  of  the  famous  monastery  of 
Le'rins,  in  the  island  of  that  name,^  and  his  ascription  has  been  universally  accepted. 

Vincentius  was  of  Gallic  nationality.  In  earlier  life  he  had  been  engaged  in  secular 
pursuits,  whether  civil  or  military  is  not  clear,  though  the  term  he  uses,  "secularis  militia," 
might  possibly  imply  the  latter.  He  refers  to  the  Council  of  Ephesus,  held  in  the  summer 
and  early  autumn  of  431,  as  having  been  held  some  three  years  previously  to  the  time  at 
which  he  was  writing  "ante  triennium  ferme. "^  This  gives  the  date  of  the  Commonitory 
434.  Cyril,  bishop  of  Alexandria,  was  still  living.^  Sixtus  the  Third  had  succeeded  to 
the  See  of  Rome;^  his  predecessor,  Celestine,  having  died  in  432.  Gennadius  says  that 
Vincentius  died,  "Theodosio  et  Valentiniano  regnantibus."  ®  Theodosius  died,  leaving 
Valentinian  still  reigning,  in  July,  450.  Vincentius'  death,  therefore,  must  have  occurred  in 
or  before  that  year. 

Baronius  places  his  name  in  the  Roman  Martyrology,  Tillemont  doubts  whether  with 
sufficient  reason.'^     He  is  commemorated  on  the  24th  of  May. 

Vincentius  has  been  charged  with  Semipelagianism.  Whether  he  actually  held  the 
doctrine  which  was  afterwards  called  by  that  name  is  not  clear.  Certainly  the  express 
enunciation  of  it  is  nowhere  to  be  found  in  the  Commonitory.  But  it  is  extremely  probable 
that  at  least  his  sympathies  were  with  those  who  held  it.  For  not  only  does  he  omit  the 
name  of  St.  Augustine,  who  was  especially  obnoxious  to  them,  when  making  honorable 
mention  at  any  time  of  the  champions  of  the  faith,  but  he  denounces  his  doctrine,  though 
under  a  misrepresentation  of  it,  as  one  of  the  forms  of  that  novel  error  which  he  reprobates.^ 
Indeed,  whoever  will  compare  what  he  says  in  §  70  of  the  heresy  which  he  describes  but 
forbears  to  name,  with  Prosper's  account  of  the  charges  brought  against  Augustine  by 
certain  Semipelagian  clergymen  of  Marseilles,^  will  have  little  doubt  that  Vincentius  and 
they  had  the  same  teacher  in  view,  and  were  of  the  same  mind  with  regard  to  his  teaching. 

^  De  Scriptorilnis  Ecclesiasticis.  Gennadius's  work  is  to  be  found  at  the  end  of  the  second  vohime  of  Vallarsius's  edition  of  St. 
Jerome's  works.  • 

2  Now  St.  Honorat,  so  called  from  St.  Honoratus,  the  founder  of  the  monastery. 

The  monastery  seems  at  first  to  have  consisted  of  an  aggregation  of  separate  cells,  each  of  which,  according  to  the  usage  of  that  time, 
would  be  called  a"  monasterium."  "Totaubique  insula,  exstructis  ceUulis,  unum  velut  monasterium  evasit." — Cardinal  NoRls, //is/on 
Peliig.  p.  251.     "Monasterium  potest  unius  monachi  habitaculum  nominari."  —  Cassian.  Collat.  xvii.  i8. 

Among  its  more  prominent  members,  contemporary  with  Vincentius,  were  Honoratus  and  Hilary,  afterwards  successively  bishops  of 
Aries,  and  Faustus,  afterwards  bishop  of  Riez,  all  of  them  in  sympathy  with  the  neighbouring  clergy  of  Marseilles,  opposed  to  St.  Augustine's 
later  teaching,  and  holding  what  %vas  afterwards  called  Semipelagian  doctrine. 

The  adjoining  islet  of  St.  Marguerite,  one  of  the  L^rins  group,  has  acquired  notoriety  of  late,  from  having  been  the  place  to  which  Mar- 
shal Bazaine,  the  betrayer  of  Metz,  was  banished  in  1873. 

'  §  79-  ■•  §  80.  5  §  85.  =  De  Illustr.  Eccles.  Scrip,  c.  84.  '  xv,  p.  146. 

'  Cardinal  Noris  does  not  hesitate  to  say  of  him,  "  Non  mode  Semipelagianum  se  prodit,  sed  disertis  verbis  Augustiui  discipulos 
tanquam  haereticos  traducit."  — //ir/orii  Pelagiana,  p.  245.     See  below.  Appendix  II. 

^  See  Prosper's  letter  to  Augustine  in  Augustine's  works,  Ep.  225,  Tom.  ii.  Ed.  Paris,  1836,  etc. 

127 


128  INTRODUCTION. 


Be  this  however  as  it  may,  when  it  is  considered  that  the  monks  of  Lerins,  in  common  with 
the  general  body  of  the  churchmen  of  Southern  Gaul,  were  strenuous  upholders  of  Semipela- 
■  gianism,  it  will  not  be  thought  surprising  that  Vincentius  should  have  been  suspected  of  at 
least  a  leaning  in  that  direction.  Tillemont,  who  forbears  to  express  himself  decidedly,  but 
evidently  inclines  to  that  view,  says  "L'opinion  qui  le  condamne  et  I'abandonne  aux  Semi- 
pelagiens  passe  aujourd'hui  pour  la  plus  commune  parmi  les  savans."^ 

It  has  been  matter  of  question  whether  Vincentius  is  to  be  credited  with  the  authorship 
of  the  "Objectiones  Vincentianae,"  a  collection  of  Sixteen  Inferences  alleged  to  be  dedu- 
cible  from  St.  Augustine's  writings,  which  has  come  down  to  us  in  Prosper's  Reply. 

Its  date  coincides  so  nearly  with  that  of  the  Commonitory  as  to  preclude  all  doubt 
as  to  the  identity  of  authorship  on  that  score,-  and  it  must  be  confessed  that  its  animus 
and  that  of  the  70th  and  86th  sections  of  the  Commonitory  are  too  much  in  keeping  to  make 
it  difficult  to  believe  that  both  are  from  the  same  pen. 

ViNCENTius's  object  in  the  following  treatise  is  to  provide  himself,  as  he  states,  with  a 
general  rule  whereby  to  distinguish  Catholic  truth  from  heresy;  and  he  commits  what  he  has 
learnt,  he  adds,  to  writing,  that  he  may  have  it  by  him  for  reference  as  a  Commonitory,  or 
Remembrancer,  to  refresh  his  memory. 

This  rule,  in  brief,  is  the  authority  of  Holy  Scripture.  By  that  all  questions  must  be 
tried  in  the  first  instance.  And  it  would  be  abundantly  sufficient,  but  that,  unfortunately, 
men  differ  in  the  interpretation  of  Holy  Scripture.  The  rule,  therefore,  must  be  supple- 
mented by  an  appeal  to  that  sense  of  Holy  Scripture  which  is  supported  by  universality, 
antiquity,  and  consent:  by  universality,  when  it  is  the  faith  of  the  whole  Church;  by 
antiquity,  when  it  is  that  which  has  been  held  from  the  earliest  times;  by  consent,  when  it 
has  been  the  acknowledged  belief  of  all,  or  of  almost  all,  whose  office  and  character  gave 
authority  to  their  determinations.  This  is  the  famous  "Quod  ubique,  quod  semper,  quod  ab 
omnibus,"  with  which  Vincentius's  name  is  associated."  '  The  body  of  the  work  is  taken 
up  with  its  illustration  and  application. 

The  work  consisted  originally  of  two  books;  but  unfortunately  the  second  was  lost,  or 
rather,  as  Gennadius  says,  was  stolen,  while  the  author  was  still  alive;  and  there  remains 
to  us  nothing  but  a  recapitulation  of  its  contents,  which  the  authour,  unwilling  to  encounter 
the  labour  of  re-writing  the  whole,  has  drawn  up.* 

In  prosecution  of  his  purpose  Vincentius  proceeds  to  show  how  his  rule  applies  for  the 
detection  of  error  in  the  instances  of  some  of  the  more  notorious  heretics  and  schismatics 
who  up  to  his  time  had  made  havoc  of  the  Church, —  the  Donatists  and  the  Arians,  for 
instance,  and  the  maintainers  of  the  iteration  of  Baptism;  and  how  the  great  defenders  of 
the  Faith  were  guided  in  their  maintenance  of  the  truth  by  its  observance.^ 

But  the  perplexing  question  occurs:  Wherefore,  in  God's  providence,  were  persons, 
eminent  for  their  attainments  and  their  piety,  such  as  Photinus,  Apollinaris,  and  Nestorius, 
permitted  to  fall  into  heresy ?°  To  which  the  answer  is.  For  the  Church's  trial.  And 
Vincentius  proceeds  to  show,  in  the  case  of  each  of  these,  how  great  a  trial  to  the  Church 
his  fall  was.  This  leads  him  to  give  an  account  of  their  erroneous  teaching  severally,''  from 
which  he  turns  aside  for  a  while  to  expound  the  Catholic  doctrine  of  the  Trinity  as  opposed 
to  the  heresy  of  Photinus,  and  of  the  Incarnation  as  opposed  to  the  heresies  of  Apollinaris 
and  Nestorius,  in  an  exposition  remarkable  for  its  clearness  and  precision.*  It  contains  so 
much  in  common  with  the  so-called  Athanasian  Creed,  both  as  to  the  sentiments  and  the 

'  T.  XV.  p.  146. 

'  The  Objectiones  Vinccntiana;  must  have  been  published  at  some  time  between  the  publication  of  St.  Augustine's  Antipelagian  Treatises 
and  the  death  of  Prosper.  They  are  to  be  found  in  Prosper's  Reply,  contained  in  St.  Augustine's  works,  Appendix,  Tom.  x.  coll.  2535 
ei  seq.     Paris,  1836,  etc. 

*  §  6.  «  §5  77-8S.  '^  §§  9  -f??-  *  §§  27  iqq-  ''  §§  32  sqq-  ^  §§  36  sqq. 


INTRODUCTION.  129 


lant^uao-e,  that  some  have  inferred  from  it,  that  Vincentius  was  the  author  of  that  Formu- 
lary.^ 

Returning-  from  this  digression,  Vincentius  proceeds,  after  promising  to  deal  with  these 
subjects  more  fully  on  a  future  occasion,'^  to  two  other  very  signal  instances  of  heretical 
defection  caused  by  the  disregard  of  antiquity  and  universality;  those  of  Origen^and 
Tertullian,'*  of  both  of  whom  he  draws  a  vivid  picture,  contrasting  them,  such  as  they  were 
before  their  fall  with  what  they  became  afterwards,  and  enlarging  on  the  grievous  injury  to 
the  Church  generally,  and  the  distressing  trial  to  individuals  in  particular,  consequent 
upon  their  defection. 

But  it  will  be  asked.  Is  Christian  doctrine  to  remain  at  a  standstill?  Is  there  to  be 
no  progresss,  as  in  other  sciences?^  Undoubtedly  there  is  to  be  progress;  but  it  must  be 
real  progress,  analogous,  for  instance,  to  the  growth  of  the  human  body  from  infancy  to 
childhood,  from  childhood  to  mature  age;  or  to  the  development  of  a  plant  from  the  seed 
to  the  full-grown  vegetable  or  tree;  it  must  be  such  as  the  elucidation  of  what  was  before 
obscure,  the  following  out  into  detail  of  what  was  before  expressed  only  in  general  terms,® 
not  the  addition  of  new  doctrine,  not  the  rejection  of  old. 

One  difficulty  which  is  not  unlikely  to  perplex  a  simple  Christian  is  the  readiness  with 
which  heretics  appeal  to  Scripture,  following  therein  the  example  of  their  arch-leader,  who, 
in  his  temptation  of  our  Lord,  dared  to'  make  use  of  arms  drawn  from  that  armoury.''  This 
leads  to  the  question.  How  are  we  to  ascertain  the  true  sense  of  Scripture  ?  And,  in  the 
answer  to  it,  to  a  more  detailed  exposition  of  the  general  rule  given  at  the  outset. 

Scripture,  then,  must  be  interpreted  in  accordance  with  the  tradition  of  the  Catholic 
Church,  our  guide  being  antiquity,  universality,  consent. 

With  regard  to  antiquity,  that  interpretation  must  be  held  to  which  has  been  handed 
down  from  the  earliest  times;  with  regard  to  universality,  that  which  has  always  been  held, 
if  not  by  all,  at  least  by  the  most  part,  in  preference  to  that  which  has  been  held  only  by  a 
few;  with  regard  to  consent,  the  determination  of  a  General  Council  on  any  point  will  of 
course  be  of  summary  authority,  and  will  hold  the  first  place;  next  to  this,  the  interpre- 
tation which  has  been  held  uniformly  and  persistently  by  all  those  Fathers,  or  by  a  majority 
of  them,  who  have  lived  and  died  in  the  communion  of  the  Catholic  Church.  Accordingly, 
whatsoever  interpretation  of  Holy  Scripture  is  opposed  to  an  interpretation  thus  authenti- 
cated, even  though  supported  by  the  authority  of  one  or  another  individual  teacher,  how- 
ever eminent,  whether  by  his  position,  or  his  attainments,  or  his  piety,  or  by  all  of  these 
together,  must  be  rejected  as  novel  and  unsound. 

Here  the  first  Commonitory  ends;  but  it  ends  with  a  promise  of  a  still  further  and  more 
detailed  inquiry,  to  be  prosecuted  in  the  Commonitory  which  is  to  follow,  into  the  way  in 
which  the  opinions  of  the  ancient  Fathers  are  to  be  collected,  and  the  rule  of  faith  deter- 
mined in  accordance  with  them. 

Unfortunately  that  promise,  however  fulfilled  according  to  the  author's  intention,  has 
been  frustrated  to  his  readers.  The  second  Commonitory,  as  was  said  above,  was  lost,  or 
rather  stolen,  and  all  that  remains  to  us  is  a  brief  and  apparently  partial  recapitulation  of 
its  contents  and  of  the  contents  of  the  preceding. 

'  Antelmi,  Nova  de  Sytnbolo  Athanasiaiio  Disquisitio.     See  the  note  on  §  42,  Appendix  I. 


2 


42- 


^  §§  44-4''j-  M  47-  '  §  55- 


s  §§  55-60.  For  instances  in  point,  he  might  have  referred  to  the  enlargement  and  expansion  of  the  earlier  Creed,  first  in  the  Nicene, 
afterward  in  the  Constantinopolitan  Formulary.  Tims,  in  the  Definition  of  the  Faith  of  the  Council  of  Chalcedon,  the  Fathers  are  careful 
to  explain  that  they  are  making  no  addition  to  the  original  deposit,  but  simply  unfolding  and  rendering  more  nitelligible  what  before  had 
been  less  distinctly  set  forth :  "  Teaching  in  its  fulness  the  doctrine  which  from  the  beginning  hath  remained  unshaken,  it  decrees,  in  the 
first  place,  that  the  Creed  of  the  318  (the  original  Nicene  Creed)  remain  untouched;  and  on  account  of  those  who  impugn  the  Holy  Spirit, 
it  ratifies  and  confirms  the  doctrine  subsequently  delivered,  concerning  the  essence  of  the  Holy  Spirit,  by  the  hundred  and  fifty  holy 
Fathers,  (the  Constantinopolitan  Creed),  which  they  promulgated  for  universal  acceptance,  not  as  though  they  were  supplying  some 
omission  of  their  predecessors,  but  testifying  in  express  words  in  writing  their  own  minds  concerning  the  Holy  Spirit. 

'  §§  65  Sqg. 


I30  INTRODUCTION. 


In  this  Vincentius  repeats  the  rule  for  ascertaining  the  Catholic  doctrine  which  he  had 
laid  down  at  the  outset,  enlarging  especially  upon  the  way  in  which  the  consent  of  the 
Fathers  is  to  be  arrived  at,  and  illustrating  what  he  says  by  the  course  pursued  by  the 
Council  of  Ephesus  in  the  matter  of  Nestorius, — how  the  Fathers  of  the  Council,  instead 
of  resting  upon  their  own  judgment,  eminent  as  many  of  them  were,  collected  together  the 
opinions  of  the  most  illustrious  of  their  predecessors,  and  following  their  consentient  belief, 
determined  the  question  before  them.  To  this  most  noteworthy  example  he  adds  the 
authority  of  two  bishops  of  Rome,  Sixtus  III.,  then  occupying  the  Papal  Chair,  and 
Celestine,  his  immediate  predecessor,  — the  gist  of  the  whole  being  the  confirmation  of  the 
rule  which  it  had  been  his  object  to  enforce  throughout  the  Treatise  —  that  profane  novel- 
ties must  be  rejected,  and  that  faith  alone  adhered  to  which  the  universal  Church  has  held 
consentiently  from  the  earliest  times,  Quod  ubique,  quod  semper,  quod  ab  omnibus. 


1 


V    ' 


A  COMMONITORY' 

FOR  THE    ANTIQUITY    AND    UNIVERSALITY    OF    THE    CATHOLIC    FAITH 
AGAINST    THE   PROFANE   NOVELTIES   OF    ALL   HERESIES. 


CHAPTER   L 

The  Object  of  the  Following  Treatise. 

[i.]  I,  Peregrinus,-  who  am  the  least  of  all 
the  servants  of  God,  remembering  the  admo- 
nition of  Scripture,  "Ask  thy  fathers  and 
they  will  tell  thee,  thine  elders  and  they  will 
declare  mito  thee, "^  and  again,  "Bow  down 
thine  ear  to  the  words  of  the  wise,"^  and 
once  more,  "  My  son,  forget  not  these  instruc- 
tions, but  let  thy  heart  keep  my  words:  "^ 
remembering  these  admonitions,  I  say,  I,  Pere- 
grinus, am  persuaded,  that,  the  Lord  helping 
me,  it  will  be  of  no  little  use  and  certainly  as 
regards  my  own  feeble  powers,  it  is  most  neces- 
sary, that  I  should  put  down  in  writing  the 
things  which  I  have  truthfully  received  from 
the. holy  Fathers,  since  I  shall  then  have  ready 
at  hand  wherewith  by  constant  reading  to  make 
amends  for  the  weakness  of  my  memory. 

[2.]  To  this  I  am  incited  not  only  by 
regard  to  the  fruit  to  be  expected  from  my 
laijour  but  also  by  the  consideration  of  time 
and  the  opportuneness  of  place : 

By  the  consideration  of  time,  —  for  seeing 
that  time  seizes  upon  all  things  human,  we 
also  in  turn  ought  to  snatch  from  it  some- 
thing  which   may   profit   us   to  eternal    life, 


'  CoMMONiTORY.  I  have  retained  the  original  title  in  its  angli- 
cised form,  already  familiar  to  English  ears  in  connection  with  the 
name  of  Vincentius.  Its  meaning,  as  he  uses  it,  is  indicated  suffi- 
ciently, in  §  3,  "  An  aid  to  memory."  Technically,  it  meant  a  Paper 
of  Instructions  given  to  a  person  charged  with  a  commission,  to  assist 
his  memory  as  to  its  details. 

2  Peregrinus.  It  does  not  appear  why  Vincentius  writes  under  an 
assumed  name.  Vossius,  with  whom  Cardinal  Noris  evidently  agrees, 
supposes  that  his  object  was  to  avoid  openly  avowing  himself  the  author 
of  a  work  which  covertly  attacked  St.  Augustine.  Vossius,  Histor. 
Pelag.  p.  40.  Ego  quidem  ad  Vossii  sententiam  plane  accessissem, 
nisi  tot  delats  a  sapientissimis  Scriptoribus  Commonitorio  laudes 
religionem  mihi  pene  injecissent.  —Noris,  Histor.  Pelag.  p.  246. 

"  Deut.  xxxii.  7. 

*  Prov.  xxii.  17. 

^  Prov.  lii.  I. 


especially  since  a  certain  awful  expectation  of 
the  approach  of  the  divine  judgment  importu- 
nately demands  increased  earnestness  in  reli- 
gion,'while  the  subtle  craftiness  of  new  heretics 
calls  for  no  ordinary  care  and  attention. 

I  am  incited  also  by  the  opportuneness  of 
place,  in  that,  avoiding  the  concourse  and 
crowds  of  cities,  I  am  dwelling  in  the  seclu- 
sion of  a  Monastery,  situated  in  a  remote 
grange,®  where,  I  can  follow  without  distrac- 
tion the  Psalmist's^  admonition,  "Be  still, 
and  know  that  I  am  God." 

Moreover,  it  suits  well  with  my  purpose 
in  adopting  this  life;  for,  whereas  I  was  at 
one  time  involved  in  the  manifold  and  de- 
plorable tempests  of  secular  warfare,  I  have 
now  at  length,  under  Christ's  auspices,  cast 
anchor  in  the  harbour  of  religion,  a  harbour 
to  all  always  most  safe,  in  order  that,  having 
there  been  freed  from  the  blasts  of  vanity  and 
pride,  and  propitiating  God  by  the  sacrifice 
of  Christian  humility,  I  may  be  able  to 
escape  not  only  the  shipwrecks  of  the  present 
life,  but  also  the  flames  of  the  world  to  come. 

[3.]  But  now,  in  the  Lord's  name,  I  will 
set  about  the  object  I  have  in  view;  that  is  to 
say,  to  record  with  the  fidelity  of  a  narrator 
rather  than  the  presumption  of  an  author,  the 
things  which  our  forefathers  have  handed 
down  to  us  and  committed  to  our  keeping, 
yet  observing  this  rule  in  what  I  write,  that  I 


c  Noris,  from  this  word,  "  villula,"  a  grange  or  country  house, 
concludes  that  Vincentius,  at  the  time  of  writing,  though  a  monk, 
was  not  a  monk  of  Lerins,  for  there  could  be  no  "villula  there 
then,  Honoratus  having  found  the  island  desolate  and  without 
inhabitant,  when  he  settled  on  it  but  a  few  years  previously,  vacan- 
tem  insulam  ob  nimictatem  squaloris,  et  inaccessam  venenatorum 
animalium  metu."  Histor.  Pelag.  p.  251.  Why,  however,  may  not 
the  "  villula  "  have  been  built  subsequently  to  Honoratus  s  settlement, 
and  indeed,  as  a  i*rt  of  it?  Whether  Vincentius  was  an  inmate  of 
the  monastery  of  Lerins  at  the  time  of  writing  the  Commonitory  or 
not,  he  was  so  eventually,  and  died  there. 

"  Ps.  xlvi.  10. 

31 


132 


VINCENT    OF    LERINS. 


shall  by  no  means  touch  upon  everything  that 
might  be  said,  but  only  upon  what  is  neces- 
sary ;  nor  yet  in  an  ornate  and  exact  style,  but 
in  simple  and  ordinary  language,^  so  that  the 
most  part  may  seem  to  be  intimated,  rather 
than  set  forth  in  detail.  Let  those  cultivate 
elegance  and  exactness  who  are  confident  of 
their  ability  or  are  moved  by  a  sense  of  duty. 
For  me  it  will  be  enough  to  have  provided  a 
CoMMONiTORY  (or  Remembrancer)  for  myself, 
such  as  may  aid  my  memory,  or  rather^  pro- 
vide against  my  forgetfulness :  which  same 
Commonitory  however,  I  shall  endeavor,  the 
Lord  helping  me,  to  amend  and  make  more 
complete  by  little  and  little,  day  by  day,  by 
recalling  to  mind  what  I  have  learnt.  I  men- 
tion this  at  the  outset,  that  if  by  chance  what 
I  write  should  slip  out  of  my  possession  and 
come  into  the  hands  of  holy  men,  they  may  for- 
bear to  blame  anything  therein  hastily,  when 
they  see  that  there  is  a  promise  that  it  will  yet 
be  amended  and  made  more  complete. 


CHAPTER   IL 

A  General  Rule  for  distinguishing  the  Truth  of  the  Catholic 
Faith  from  the  Falsehood  of  Heretical  Pravity. 

[4.]  I  HAVE  often  then  inquired  earn- 
estly and  attentively  of  very  many  men 
eminent  for  sanctity  and  learning,  how  and 
by  what  sure  and  so  to  speak  universal  rule 
I  may  be  able  to  distinguish  the  truth  of 
Catholic  faith  from  the  falsehood  of  heretical 
pravity;  and  I  have  always,  and  in  almost 
every  instance,  received  an  answer  to  this 
effect :  That  whether  I  or  any  one  else  should 
wish  to  detect  the  frauds  and  avoid  the  snares 
of  heretics  as  they  rise,  and  to  continue  sound 
and  complete  in  the  Catholic  faith,  we  must, 
the  Lord  helping,  fortify  our  own  belief  in 
two  ways;  first,  by  the  authority  of  the  Divine 
Law,  and  then,  by  the  Tradition  of  the  Catholic 
Church. 

[5.]  But  here  some  one  perhaps  will  ask, 
Since  the  canon  of  Scripture  is  complete,  and 
sufficient  of  itself  for  everything,  and  more 
than  sufficient,  what  need  is  there  to  join  with 
it  the  authority  of  the  Church's  interpretation? 
For  this  reason,  — because,  owing  to  the  depth 
of  Holy  Scripture,  all  do  not  accept  it  in  one 
and  the  same  sense,  but  one  understands  its 
words  in  one  way,  another  in  another;  so  that 
it  seems,  to  be  capable  of  as  many  interpreta- 
tions as  there  are  interpreters.  For  Novatian 
expounds  it  one  way,  Sabellius  another,  Dona- 
tus  another,  Arius,  Eunomius,  Macedonius, 
i 

^  "  II  dit  qu'il  I'avoulu  ^crire  d'un  style  facile  et  commun,  sans  le 
vouloir  oriier  et  polir;  et  je  voudrois  que  les  ouvrac;es  qu'on  a  pris  le 
plus  de  peine  4  polir  dans  ce  siecle  (le  4me)  et  dans  le  suivant,  resscm- 
blassent  a  celui-ci."  —  Tilkmonl,  T.  xv.  p.  144. 


another,  Photinus,  Apollinaris,  Priscillian,  an- 
other, lovinian,  Pelagius,  Celestius,  another, 
lastly,  Nestorius  another.  Therefore,  it  is  very 
necessary,  on  account  of  so  great  intricacies 
of  such  various  error,  that  the  rule  for  the 
right  understanding  of  the  prophets  and  apos- 
tles should  be  framed  in  accordance  with 
the  standard  of  Ecclesiastical  and  Catholic 
interpretation. 

[6.]  Moreover,  in  the  Catholic  Church 
itself,  all  possible  care  must  be  taken,  that  we 
hold  that  faith  which  has  been  believed  every- 
where, always,  by  all.  For  that  is  truly  and 
in  the  strictest  sense  "Catholic,"  which,  as 
the  name  itself  and  the  reason  of  the  thing 
declare,  comprehends  all  universally.  This 
rule  we  shall  observe  if  we  follow  universality, 
antiquity,  consent.  We  shall  follow  univer- 
sality if  we  confess  that  one  faith  to  be  true, 
which  the  whole  Church  throughout  the  world 
confesses;  antiquity,  if  we  in  no  wise  depart 
from  those  interpretations  which  it  is  manifest 
were  notoriously  held  by  our  holy  ancestors 
and  fathers;  consent,  in  like  manner,  if  in 
antiquity  itself  we  adhere  to  the  consentient 
definitions  and  determinations  of  all,  or  at  the 
least  of  almost  all  priests  and  doctors. 


CHAPTER   in. 

What  is  to  be  done  if  one  or  more  dissent  from  the  rest. 

[7.]  What  then  will  a  Catholic  Christian 
do,  if  a  small  portion  of  the  Church  have  cut 
itself  off  from  the  communion  of  the  universal 
faith?  What,  surely,  but  prefer  the  sound- 
ness of  the  whole  body  to  the  unsoundness 
of  a  pestilent  and  corrupt  member?  What, 
if  some  novel  contagion  seek  to  infect  not 
merely  an  insignificant  portion  of  the  Church, 
but  the  whole?  Then  it  will  be  his  care  to 
cleave  to  antiquity,  which  at  this  day  cannot 
possibly  be  seduced  by  any  fraud  of  novelty. 

[8.]  But  what,  if  in  antiquity  itself  there  be 
found  error  on  the  part  of  two  or  three  men, 
or  at  any  rate  of  a  city  or  even  of  a  province? 
Then  it  will  be  his  care  by  all  means,  to 
prefer  the  decrees,  if  such  there  be,  of  an 
ancient  General  Council  to  the  rashness  and 
ignorance  of  a  few.  But  what,  if  some  error 
should  spring  up  on  which  no  such  decree  is 
found  to  bear?  Then  he  must  collate  and 
consult  and  interrogate  the  opinions  of  the 
ancients,  of  those,  namely,  who,  though  living 
in  divers  times  and  places,  yet  continuing 
in  the  communion  and  faith  of  the  one 
Catholic  Church,  stand  forth  acknowledged 
and  approved  authorities :  and  whatsoever  he 
shall  ascertain  to  have  been  held,  written, 
taught,  not  by  one  or  two  of  these  only,  but 


A   COMMONITORY. 


133 


by  all,  equally,  with  one  consent,  openly, 
frequently,  persistently,  that  he  must  under- 
stand that  he  himself  also  is  to  believe  with- 
out any  doubt  or  hesitation. 


CHAPTER   IV. 

The  evil  resulting  from  the  bringing  in  of  Novel  Doctrine  shown 
in  the  instances  of  the  Donatists  and  Arians. 


[9.]  But  that  we  may  make  what  we  say 
more  intelligible,  we  must  illustrate  it  by 
individual  examples,  and  enlarge  upon  it 
somewhat  more  fully,  lest  by  aiming  at  too 
great  brevity  important  matters  be  hurried 
over  and  lost  sight  of. 

In  the  time  of  Donatus,^  from  whom  his 
followers  were  called  Donatists,  when  great 
numbers  in  Afric2l  were  rushing  headlong  into 
their  own  mad  error,  and  unmindful  of  their 
name,  their  religion,  their  profession,  were  pre- 
ferring the  sacrilegious  temerity  of  one  man 
before  the  Church  of  Christ,  then  they  alone 
throughout  Africa  were  safe  within  the  sacred 
precincts  of  the  Catholic  faith,  who,  detest- 
ing the  profane  schism,  continued  in  com- 
munion with  the  universal  Church,  leaving  to 
posterity  an  illustrious  example,  how,  and 
how  well  in  future  the  soundness  of  the  whole 
body  should  be  preferred  before  the  madness 
of  one,  or  at  most  of  a  few. 

[10.]  So  also  when  the  Arian  poison  had 
infected  not  an  insigniftcant  portion  of  the 
Church  but  almost  the  whole  world,'-  so  that 


1  There  were  two  persons  of  this  name,  both  intimately  connected 
with  the  schism,— the  earlier  one,  bishop  of  Casa  Nigra  in  Numidia, 
the  other  the  successor  of  Majorinus,  whom  in  the  year  311  the  party 
had  elected  to  be  bishop  of  Carthage  in  opposition  to  Cecilian,  the 
Catholic  bishop,  the  ground  of  the  opposition  being  that  the  princi- 
pal among  Cecilian's  consecrators  lay  under  the  charge  of  having 
delivered  up  the  sacred  books  to  the  heathen  magistrates  in  the 
Dioclesian  persecution,  and  of  having  thereby  rendered  his  ministerial 
acts  invalid.  It  was  from  the  last-mentioned  probably  that  the  sect 
was  called. 

The  Donatists  affected  great  strictness  of  life,  and  ignoring  the 
plain  declarations  of  Scripture,  and  notably  the  prophetic  representa- 
tions contained  in  our  Lord's  parables  of  the  Tares,  the  Draw-net,  and 
others,  they  held  that  no  church  could  be  a  true  church  which  endured 
the  presence  of  evil  men  in  its  society.  Accordingly  they  broke  off 
communion  with  the  rest  of  the  African  Church  and  with  all  who 
held  communion  with  it,  which  was  in  effect  the  rest  of  Christendom, 
denying  the  validity  of  their  sacraments,  rebaptizing  those  who  came 
over  to  them  from  other  Christian  bodies,  and  reordaining  their  clergy. 
The  sect  became  so  powerful  that  for  some  time  it  formed  the 
stronger  partv  in  the  church  of  North  Western  Africa,  its  bishops 
exceeding  four  hundred  in  number;  but  partly  checked  through  the 
exertions  of  Augustine  in  the  first  years  of  the  fifth  century,  and  of 
Pope  Gregorv  the  Great  at  the  close  of  the  sixth,  and  partly  weakened 
by  divisions  among  themselves,  they  dwindled  away  and  became 
extinct.  •  ■     ■         r 

'  The  rise  of  Arianism  was  nearly  contemporaneous  with  that  01 
Donatism.  It  originated  with  Arius,  a  presbyter  of  Alexandria,  a  man 
of  a  subtle  wit  and  a  fluent  tongue.  He  began  by  calling  in  question 
the  teaching  of  his  bishop,  when  discoursing  on  a  certain  occasion 
on  the  subject  of  the  Trinity.  For  himself  he  denied  our  blessed 
Lord's  coeternitv  and  consubstantiality  with  the  Father,  which  was  in 
effect  to  deny  that  He  is  God  in  any  true  sense,  though  he  made  no 
scruple  of  giving  Him  the  name.  His  doctrine  may  be  best  inferred 
from  the  anathema  directed  against  it,  appended  to  the  original 
Nicene  Creed:  "Those  who  say,  that  once  the  Son  of  God  did  not 
exist,  and  that  before  He  was  begotten  He  did  not  exist,  or  who 
affirm  that  He  is  of  a  different  substance  or  essence  (from  that  of  the 
Father),  or  that  His  nature  is  mutable  or  alterable,  those  the  Catholic 
and  Apostolic  Church  anathematises." 


a  sort  of  blindness  had  fallen  upon  almost  all 
the  bishops^  of  the  Latin  tongue,  circum- 
vented partly  by  force  partly  by  fraud,  and 
was  preventing  them  from  seeing  what  was 
most  expedient  to  be  done  in  the  midst  of  so 
much  confusion,  then  whoever  was  a  true 
lover  and  worshipper  of  Christ,  preferring  the 
ancient  belief  to  the  novel  misbelief,  escaped 
the  pestilent  infection. 

[11.]  By  the  peril  of  which  time  was 
abundantly  shown  how  great  a  calamity  the 
introduction  of  a  novel  doctrine  causes.  For 
then  truly  not  only  interests  of  small  account, 
but  others  of  the  very  gravest  importance,  were 
subverted.  For  not  only  affinities,  relation- 
ships, friendships,  families,  but  moreover, 
cities,  peoples,  provinces,  nations,  at  last 
the  whole  Roman  Empire,  were  shaken  to 
their  foundation  and  ruined. 

For  when  this  same  profane  Arian  novelty, 
like  a  Bellona  or  a  Fury,  had  first  taken 
captive  the  Emperor,-*  and  had  then  subjected 
all  the  principal  persons  of  the  palace  to  new 
laws,  from  that  time  it  never  ceased  to  involve 
everything  in  confusion,  disturbing  all  things, 
public  and  private,  sacred  and  profane,  pay- 
ing no  regard  to  what  was  good  and  true,  but, 
as  though  holding  a  position  of  authority, 
smiting  whomsoever  it  pleased.  Then  wives 
were  violated,  widows  ravished,  virgins  pro- 
faned, monasteries  demolished,  clergymen 
ejected,  the  inferior  clergy  scourged,  priests 
driven  into  exile,  jails,  prisons,  mines,  filled 
with  saints,  of  whom  the  greater  part,  for- 
bidden to  enter  into  cities,  thrust  forth  from 
their  homes  to  wander  in  deserts  and  caves, 
among  rocks  and  the  haunts  of  wild  beasts, 
exposed  to  nakedness,  hunger,  thirst,  were 
worn  out  and  consumed.  Of  all  of  which 
there  any  other  cause  than 


was 


that,  while 


Arianism  spread  with  great  rapidity ;  and  though  condemned  by 
the  Council  of  Nic«a  in  325,  it  gained  fresh  strength  on  the  death 
of  Constantine  and  the  accession  of  Constantius,  so  that  for  many 
years  thenceforward  the  history  of  the  Church  is  occupied  with  noth- 
ing so  much  as  with  accounts  of  its  struggle  for  supremac;,-. 

"  Arians  and  Donatists  began  both  about  one  time,  which  heresies, 
according  to  the  different  strength  of  their  own  sinews,  wrought,  as 
the  hope  of  success  led  them,  the  one  with  the  choicest  wits,  the 
other  with  the  multitude,  so  far,  that  after  long  and  troublesome 
experience,  the  perfectest  view  that  men  could  take  of  both  was 
hardly  able  to  induce  any  certain  determinate  resolution,  wliether 
error  may  do  more  by  the  curious  subtlety  of  sharp  discourse,  or  else 
by  the  mere  appearance  of  zeal  and  devout  affection.  —Hooker, 
Eccles.  Pol.  V.  62.  §  S.  .        r        u      J     .1       V, 

3  The  Catholic  bishops,  in  number  more  than  four  hundred,  who 
at  Ariminum,  in  359,  after  having  subscribed  the  Creed  of  Nicia, 
were  induced,  partly  by  fraud,  partly  by  threats,  to  repudiate  its 
crucial  terms  and  sign  an  Arian  Formulary.  It  was  in  reference  to 
this  that  St.  Jerome  wrote,  "  Ingemuit  orbis,  et  Arium  seesse  miratus 
est"  "  The  world  groaned  and  marvelled  to  find  Itself  Arian.  He 
continues,  "  The  vessel  of  the  apostles  was  in  extreme  danger.  The 
storm  raged,  the  waves  beat  upon  the  ship,  all  hope  was  gone  1  he 
Lord  awakes,  rebukes  the  tempest,  the  monster  (Constantius)  dies, 
tranquillity  is  restored.  The  bishops  who  had  been  thrust  out  from 
their  sees  return,  through  the  clemency  of  the  new  emperor.  Ihen 
did  Eg^'pt  receive  Athanasius  in  triumph,  then  did  the  Church  of 
Gaul  receive  Hilary  returning  from  battle,  then  did  Italy  put  off  her 
mourning  garments  at  the  return  of  Eusebius (of  Veicellx).  —A  dvers. 
Lucifer ianos,  §  10. 

♦  Constantius,  the  Emperor  of  the  West. 


134 


VINCENT   OF    LERINS. 


human  superstitions  are  being  brought  in  to 
supplant  heavenly  doctrine,  while  well  estab- 
lished antiquity  is  being  subverted  by  wicked 
novelty,  while  the  institutions  of  former  ages 
are  being  set  at  naught,  while  the  decrees  of 
our  fathers  are  being  rescinded,  while  the  de- 
terminations of  our  ancestors  are  being  torn  in 
pieces,  the  lust  of  profane  and  novel  curiosity 
refuses  to  restrict  itself  within  the  most 
chaste  limits  of  hallowed  and  uncor'rupt 
antiquity?  ^ 

CHAPTER   V. 

The   Example  set   us  by  the   Martyrs,  whom  no  force  could 
hinder  from  defending  the  Faith  of  their  Predecessors. 

[i2.]  But  it  may  be,  we  invent  these 
charges  out  of  hatred  to  novelty  and  zeal  for 
antiquity.  Whoever  is  disposed  to  listen  to 
such  an  insinuation,  let  him  at  least  believe 
the  blessed  Ambrose,  who,  deploring  the  acer- 
bity of  the  time,  says,  in  the  second  book  of 
his  work  addressed  to  the  Emperor  Gratian :  - 
"Enough  now,  O  God  Almighty!  have  we 
expiated  with  our  own  ruin,  with  our  own 
blood,  the  slaughter  of  Confessors,  the  banish- 
ment of  priests,  and  the  wickedness  of  such 
extreme  impiety.  It  is  clear,  beyond  ques- 
tion, that  they  who  have  violated  the  faith 
cannot  remain  in  safety." 

And  again  in  the  third  book  of  the  same 
work,^  "Let  us  observe  the  precepts  of  our 
predecessors,  and  not  transgress  with  rude 
rashness  the  landmarks  which  we  have  in- 
herited •  from  them.  That  sealed  Book  of 
Prophecy  no  Elders,  no  Powers,  no  Angels, 
no  Archangels,  dared  to  open.  To  Christ 
alone  was  reserved  the  prerogative  of  explain- 
ing it.*  Who  of  us  may  dare  to  unseal  the 
Sacerdotal  Book  sealed  by  Confessors,  and 
consecrated  already  by  the  martyrdom  of 
numbers,  which  they  who  had  been  compelled 
by  force  to  unseal  afterwards  resealed,  con- 
demning the  fraud  which  had  been  practised 

'  Though  Vincentius'  account  of  the  Arian  persecutions  refers  to 
those  under  the  Arian  emperors,  Coiistantius  and  Valens,  the  former 
especially,  yet  he  could  not  but  have  had  in  mind  the  atrocious  cruel- 
ties which  were  bein^;  perpetrated,  at  the  time  when  he  was  writing, 
by  the  Arian  Vandals  in  Africa.  Possidius,  in  his  lite  of  St.  Augustine, 
who  lay  on  his  death-bed  in  Hippo  while  the  fierce  Vandal  host  was 
encamped  round  the  city  (c.  xxviii.),  gives  a  detailed  account  of  them, 
belongmg  to  a  date  some  four  years  earlier,  entirely  of  a  piece  with 
Vincentius'  description  in  the  text.  Victor,  bishop  of  Vite,  himself  a 
sufferer,  has  left  a  still  am))ler  relation,  De  Persecutioiie  Vandalorum. 

-  St.  Ambrose.  De  Fide,  1.  2,  c.  15,  §  141.  See  also  St.  Jerome 
adv.  Luci/eriunos,  §  19. 

^  Ibid.  1.  3,  §  12S,  St.  Ambrose  speaks  of  the  Gothic  war  as  a 
judgment  upon  Valens,  both  for  his  Arianism  and  for  his  persecution 
of  the  Catholics.  He  had  permitted  the  Goths  to  cross  the  Danube, 
and  settle  in  Thrace  and  the  adjoining  parts,  with  the  understanding 
that  they  should  embrace  Christianity  in  its  Arian  form.  They  had 
now  turned  against  him,  and  Gratian  was  on  the  eve  of  setting  out 
to  carry  aid  to  him.  St.  Ambrose's  book,  De  Fide,  was  written  to 
confirm  Gratian  in  the  Catholic  faith,  in  view  especially  of  the  Arian 
influence  to  which  he  niiyht  be  subjected  in  his  intercourse  with 
Valens.  Vahns  was  kilLd  the  following  year,  37S,  at  the  battle  of 
Adrianople. 

*  Rev.  v.  1-5. 


upon  them;  while  they  who  had  not  ventured 
to  tamper  with  it  proved  themselves  Con- 
fessors and  martyrs?  How  can  we  deny  the 
faith  of  those  whose  victory  we  proclaim?  " 

[13.]    We   proclaim    it   truly,  O   venerable 
Ambrose,   we  proclaim   it,  and   applaud   and 
admire.      For  who  is  there  so  demented,  who, 
though  not  able  to  overtake,  does  not  at  least 
earnestly    desire    to    follow    those   whom    no 
force   could  deter  from  defending  the  faith  of 
their  ancestors,  no  threats,  no  blandishments, 
not  life,   not  death,   not  the  palace,  not  the 
Imperial   Guards,   not   the   Emperor,   not  the 
empire  itself,  not  men,  not  demons?  —  whom, 
I  say,  as  a  recompense  for  their  steadfastness 
in  adhering  to   religious  antiquity,   the  Lord 
counted  worthy  of  so  great  a  reward,  that  by 
their    instrumentality    He    restored   churches 
which   had   been   destroyed,    quickened   with 
new   life  peoples   who  were  spiritually  dead, 
replaced  on  the  heads  of  priests  the   crowns 
which  had  been   torn  from  them,  washed  out 
those   abominable,  I   will  not  say  letters,  but 
blotches  (non  liferas,  sed  lituras)  of  novel  impi- 
ety, with  a  fountain  of  believing  tears,  which 
God  opened  in  the  hearts  of  the  bishops  ?  — 
lastly,  when  almost  the  whole  world  was  over- 
whelmed by   a  ruthless  tempest  of  unlooked 
for  heresy,  recalled  it  from  novel  misbelief  to 
the  ancient  faith,  from  the  madness  of  novelty 
to  the  soundness  of  antiquity,  from  the  blind- 
ness of  novelty  to  pristine  light? 

[14.]  But  in  this  divine  virtue,  as  we  may 
call  it,  exhibited  by  these  Confessors,  we  must 
note  especially  that  the  defence  which  they 
then  undertook  in  appealing  to  the  Ancient 
Church,  was  the  defence,  not  of  a  part,  but  of 
the  whole  body.  For  it  was  not  right  that 
men  of  such  eminence  should  uphold  with  so 
huge  an  effort  the  vague  and  conflicting 
notions  of  one  or  two  men,  or  should  exert 
themselves  in  the  defence  of  some  ill-advised 
combination  of  some  petty  province;  but 
adhering  to  the  decrees  and  definitions  of  the 
universal  priesthood  of  Holy  Church,  the 
heirs  of  Apostolic  and  Catholic  truth,  they 
chose  rather  to  deliver  up  themselves  than  to 
betray  the  faith  of  universality  and  antiquity. 
For  which  cause  they  were  deemed  worthy  of 
so  great  glory  as  not  only  to  be  accounted 
Confessors,  but  rightly  and  deservedly  to  be 
accounted  foremost  among  Confessors. 


CHAPTER  VL 

The  example  of  Pope   Stephen  in  resisting  the  Iteration  of 

Baptism. 

[15.]  Great  then  is  the  example  of  these 
same  blessed  men,  an  example  plainly  divine, 
and  worthy  to  be  called  to  mind,  and  medi- 


A    COM  MONITORY. 


135 


tated  upon  continually  by  every  true  Catho- 
lic, who,  like  the  seven-branched  candlestick, 
shining  with  the  sevenfold  light  of  the  Holy 
Spirit,  showed  to  posterity  how  thenceforward 
the  audaciousness  of  profane  novelty,  in  all 
the  several  rantings  of  error,  might  be  crushed 
by  the  authority  of  hallowed  antiquity. 

Nor  is  there  anything  new  in  this?  For 
it  has  always  been  the  case  in  the  Church, 
that  the  more  a  man  is  under  the  influ- 
ence of  religion,  so  much  the  more  prompt 
is  he  to  oppose  innovations.  Examples  there 
are  without  number:  but  to  be  brief,  we 
will  take  one,  and  that,  in  preference  to 
others,  from  the  Apostolic  See,^  so  that  it 
may  be  clearer  than  day  to  every  one  with 
how  great  energy,  with  how  great  zeal,  with 
how  great  earnestness,  the  blessed  successors 
of  the  blessed  apostles  have  constantly  de- 
fended the  integrity  of  the  religion  which 
they  have  once  received. 

[16.]  Once  on  a  time  then,  Agrippinusj^ 
bishop  of  Carthage,  of  venerable  memory, 
held  the  doctrine  —  and  he  was  the  first  who 
held  it  —  that  Baptism  ought  to  be  repeated, 
contrary  to  the  divine  canon,  contrary  to  the 
rule  of  the  universal  Church,  contrary  to  the 
customs  and  institutions  of  our  ancestors. 
This  innovation  drew  after  it  such  an  amount 
of  evil,  that  it  not  only  gave  an  example  of 
sacrilege  to  heretics  of  all  sorts,  but  proved 
an  occasion  of  error  to  certain  Catholics 
even. 

When  then  all  men  protested  against  the 
novelty,  and  the  priesthood  everywhere,  each 
as  his  zeal  prompted  him,  opposed  it.  Pope 
Stephen  of  blessed  memory.  Prelate  of  the 
Apostolic  See,  in  conjunction  indeed  with  his 
colleagues  but  yet  himself  the  foremost,  with- 
stood it,  thinking  it  right,  I  doubt  not,  that 
as  he  exceeded  all  others  in  the  authority  of 
his  place,  so  he  should  also  in  the  devotion 
of  his  faith.  In  fine,  in  an  epistle  sent  at 
the  time  to  Africa,  he  laid  down  this  rule : 
"Let  there  be  no  innovation — nothing  but 
what   has   been   handed   down."*       For   that 


1  "The  Apostolic  see "  (Sedes  Apostolica)  here  means  Rome 
of  course.  But  the  title  was  not  restricted  to  Rome.  It  was  com- 
mon to  all  sees  which  could  claim  an  apostle  as  their  Founder. 
Thus  St.  Augustine,  suggesting  a  rule  for  determining  what  books  are 
to  be  regarded  as  Canonical,  says,  "  In  Canonicis  Scripturis  Eccle- 
siarum.  Catholicarum  quamplurium  auctoritatem  sequatur,  inter  quas 
sane  illae  sint  qus  Apostolicas  Sedes  habere  et  Epistolas  accipere 
meruerunt."  "Let  him  follow  the  authority  of  those  Catholic 
Churches  which  have  been  counted  worthy  to  have  Apostolic  Sees; 
i.e.,  to  have  been  founded  by  Apostles,  and  to  have  been  the  recipi- 
ents of  Apostolic  Epistles." -^Z)^  Doctr.  Christiana,  11.  §  13.  But 
the  title,  even  in  St.  Augustine's  time,  had  even  a  wider  meaning. 
"  Anciently  every  bishop's  see  was  dignified  with  the  title  of  Sedes 
Apostolica,  which  in  those  days  was  no  peculiar  title  of  the  bishop 
of  Rome,  but  given  to  all  bishops  in  general,  as  deriving  their 
origin  and  counting  their  succession  from  the  apostles."  —  Bingham, 
Antiq.  II.,  c.  2,  §  3. 

^  Agrippinus.     See  note  4,  below. 

^  Stephen's  letter  has  not  come  down  to  us,  happily  perhaps  for 


holy  and  prudent  man  well  knew  that  true 
piety  admits  no  other  rule  than  that  whatso- 
ever things  have  been  faithfully  received 
from  our  fathers  the  same  are  to  be  faithfully 
consigned  to  our  children;  and  that  it  is  our 
duty,  not  to  lead  religion  whither  we  would, 
but  rather  to  follow  religion  whither  it  leads; 
and  that  it  is  the  part  of  Christian  modesty 
and  gravity  not  to  hand  down  our  own  beliefs 
or  observances  to  those  who  come  after  us, 
but  to  preserve  and  keep  what  we  have 
received  from  those  who  went  before  us. 
What  then  was  the  issue  of  the  whole  matter.' 
What  but  the  usual  and  customary  one? 
Antiquity  was  retained,  novelty  was  rejected. 

[17.]  But  it  may  be,  the  cause  of  innovation 
at  that  time  lacked  patronage.  On  the  con- 
trary, it  had  in  its  favor  such  powerful  talent, 
such  copious  eloquence,  such  a  number  of 
partisans,  so  much  resemblance  to  truth,  such 
weighty  support  in  Scripture  (only  interpreted 
in  a  novel  and  perverse  sense),  that  it  seems 
to  me  that  that  whole  conspiracy  could  not 
possibly  have  been  defeated,  unless  the  sole 
cause  of  this  extraordinary  stir,  the  very 
novelty  of  what  was  so  undertaken,  so  de- 
fended, so  belauded,  had  proved  wanting  to 
it.  In  the  end,  what  result,  under  God, 
had  that  same  African  Council  or  decree?'* 
None  whatever.  The  whole  aft'air,  as  though 
a  dream,  a  fable,  a  thing  of  no  possible 
account,  was  annulled,  cancelled,  and  trodden 
underfoot. 

[18.]  And  O  marvellous  revolution!  The 
authors  of  this  same  doctrine  are  judged 
Catholics,  the  followers  heretics;  the  teachers 
are  absolved,  the  disciples  condemned;  the 
writers  of  the  books  will  be  children  of  the 
Kingdom,  the  defenders  of  them  will  have 
their  portion  in  Hell.  For  who  is  so  de- 
mented as  to  doubt  that  that  blessed  light 
among  all  holy  bishops  and  martyrs,  Cyprian, 
together  with  the  rest  of  his  colleagues,  will 
reign  with  Christ;  or,  who  on  the  other 
hand  so  sacrilegious  as  to  deny  that  the 
Donatists  and  those  other  pests,  who  boast 
the  authority  of  that  council  for  their  iteration 
of  baptism,  will  be  consigned  to  eternal  fire 
with  the  devil?  ^ 


his  credit,  judging  by  the  terms  in  which  Cyprian  speaks  of  it  in  the 
letter  in  which  he  quotes  the  passage  in  the  text.  —  Ad  Pompeian, 
Ep.  74. 

*  The  Council  held  under  the  presidency  of  Cyprian  in  256.  Its 
acts  are  contained  in  Cyprian's  works,  Ed.  Fell.  pp.  15S,  etc.  An 
earlier  council  had  been  held  in  the  same  city  m  the  beginning  of  the 
century  under  .Agrippinus.  Both  had  affirmed  the  necessity  of 
rebaptizing  heretics,  or,  as  they  would  rather  have  said,  of  baptizing 
them.  The  controversy  was  set  at  rest  by  a  decision  of  the  council 
of  Aries,  in  314,  which  ordered,  in  its  Eighth  Canon,  that  if  the  bap- 
tism had  been  administered  in  the  name  of  the  Trinity,  converts 
should  be  admitted  simply  by  the  imposition  of  hands  that  they  might 
receive  the  Holy  Ghost. 

'i  See  Hooker's  reference  to  this  passage.  — Eccles.  Pol.  v,  62,  §  g. 


136 


VINCENT    OF    LERINS. 


CHAPTER   VII. 

How    Heretics,    craftily   cite    obscure    passages    in    ancient 
writers  in  support  of  their  own  novelties. 

[19.]  This  condemnation,  indeed,^  seems 
to  have  been  providentially  promulgated  as 
though  with  a  special  view  to  the  fraud  of  those 
who,  contriving  to  dress  up  a  heresy  under  a 
name  other  than  its  own,  get  hold  often  of  the 
works  of  some  ancient  writer,  not  very  clearly 
expressed,  which,  owing  to  the  very  obscurity 
of  their  own  doctrine,  have  the  appearance  of 
agreeing  with  it,  so  that  they  get  the  credit 
of  being  neither  the  first  nor  the  only  persons 
who  have  held  it.  This  wickedness  of  theirs, 
in  my  judgment,  is  doubly  hateful:  first, 
because  they  are  not  afraid  to  invite  others  to 
drink  of  the  poison  of  heresy;  and  secondly, 
because  with  profane  breath,  as  though  fanning 
smouldering  embers  into  tlame,  they  blow  upon 
the  memory  of  each  holy  man,  and  spread  an 
evil  report  of  what  ought  to  be  buried  in  silence 
by  bringing  it  again  under  notice,  thus  tread- 
ing in  the  footsteps  of  their  father  Ham,  who 
not  only  forebore  to  cover  the  nakedness 
of  the  venerable  Noah,  but  told  it  to  the 
others  that  they  might  laugh  at  it,  offend- 
jng  thereby  so  grievously  against  the  duty  of 
filial  Ipiety,  that  even  his  descendants  were 
involved  with  him  in  the  curse  which  he  drew 
down,  widely  differing  from  those  blessed 
brothers  of  his,  who  would  neither  pollute 
their  own  eyes  by  looking  upon  the  nakedness 
of  their  revered  father,  nor  would  suffer  others 
to  do  so,  but  went  backwards,  as  the  Scrip- 
ture says,  and  covered  him,  that  is,  they  neither 
approved  nor  betrayed  the  fault  of  the  holy 
man,  for  which  cause  they  were  rewarded 
with  a  benediction  on  themselves  and  their 
posterity.^ 

[20.]  But  to  return  to  the  matter  in  hand: 
It  behoves  us  then  to  have  a  great  dread  of 
the  crime  of  perverting  the  faith  and  adulter- 
ating religion,  a  crime  from  which  we  are 
deterred  not  only  by  the  Church's  discipline, 
but  also  by  the  censure  of  apostolical  author- 
ity. For  every  one  knows  how  gravely,  how 
severely,  how  vehemently,  the  blessed  apostle 
Paul  inveighs  against  certain,  who,  with  mar- 
vellous levity,  had  "  been  so  soon  removed  from 
him  who  had  called  them  to  the  grace  of  Christ 
to  another  Gospel,  which  was  not  another;  "'^ 
"who  had  heaped  to  themselves  teachers 
after  their  own  lusts,  turning  away  their  ears 
from  the  truth,  and  being  turned  aside  unto 
fables;"^  "having   damnation   because   they 


1  The  condemnation  of  St.  Cyprian's  practice  of  rebaptism. 
*  (len.  ix.  22. 
s  Gal.  I.  6. 


had  cast  off  their  first  faith;  "^  who  had 
been  deceived  by  those  of  whom  the  same 
apostle  writes  to  the  Roman  Christians, 
"Now,  I  beseech  you,  brethren,  mark  them 
which  cause  divisions  and  offences,  contrary 
to  the  doctrine  which  ye  have  learned,  and 
avoid  them.  For  they  that  are  such  serve 
not  the  Lord  Christ,  but  their  own  belly,  and 
by  good  words  and  fair  speeches  deceive  the 
hearts  of  the  simple ; "  ^  "  who  enter  into 
houses,  and  lead  captive  silly  women  laden 
with  sins,  led  away  with  diverse  lusts,  ever 
learning  and  never  able  to  come  to  the  know- 
ledge of  the  truth;"'  "vain  talkers  and 
deceivers,  who  subvert  whole  houses,  teaching 
things  which  they  ought  not,  for  filthy  lucre's 
sake ;  "  ^  "  men  of  corrupt  minds,  reprobate 
concerning  the  faith;  "^  "proud  knowing 
nothing,  but  doting  about  questions  and  strifes 
of  words,  destitute  of  the  truth,  supposing 
that  godliness  is  gain,"  ^°  "withal  learning  to 
b'e  idle,  wandering  about  from  house  to  house, 
and  not  only  idle,  but  tattlers  also  and  busy- 
bodies,  speaking  things  which  they  ought 
not,"  "  "who  having  put  away  a  good  con- 
science .have  made  shipwreck  concerning  the 
faith ;"^''  "whose  profane  and  vain  babblings 
increase  unto  more  ungodliness,  and  their 
word  doth  eat  as  doth  a  cancer."  ^^  Well, 
also,  is  it  written  of  them:  "But  they  shall 
proceed  no  further:  for  their  folly  shall  b,e 
manifest  unto  all  men,  as  their's  also  was."" 


CHAPTER  VIII. 

Exposition  of  St.  Paul's  Words,  Ga/.  i.  8. 

[21.]  When  therefore  certain  of  this  sort 
wandering  about  provinces  and  cities,  and 
carrying  with  them  their  venal  errors,  had 
found  their  way  to  Galatia,  and  when  the 
Galatians,  on  hearing  them,  nauseating  the 
truth,  and  vomiting  up  the  manna  of  Apos- 
tolic and  Catholic  doctrine,  were  delighted 
with  the  garbage  of  heretical  novelty,  the 
apostle  putting  in  exercise  the  authority  of 
his  ofiice,  delivered  his  sentence  with  the 
utmost  severity,  "Though  we,"  he  says,  "or 
an  angel  from  heaven,  preach  any  other  Gospel 
unto  you  than  that  which  we  have  preached 
unto  you,  let  him  be  accursed."  ^^ 

,  [22.]  Why  does  he  say  "Though  we"? 
why  not  rather  "  though  I "  ?  He  means, 
"though  Peter,  though  Andrew,  though  John, 


*  2  Tim.  iv.  3,  4. 
5  I  Tim.  V.  12. 
"  Rom.  xvi.  17,  18. 
'  2  Tim.  iii.  6. 
8  Tit.  i.  10. 
»  2  Tim.  iii.  8. 


'"  I  Tim.  vi.  4. 
*'  I  Tim.  V.  ij. 
*-  I  Tim.  i.  ig. 
"  2  Tim.  ii.  i6,  17. 
**  2  Tim.  iii.  9. 
w  Gal.  i.  8. 


A    COMMONITORY. 


137 


in  a  word,  though  the  whole  company  of 
apostles,  preach  unto  you  other  than  we  have 
preached  unto  you,  let  him  be  accursed." 
Tremendous  severity!  He  spares  neither 
himself  nor  his  fellow  apostles,  so  he  may 
preserve  unaltered  the  faith  which  was  at  first 
delivered.  Nay,  this  is  not  all.  He  goes  on: 
"  Even  though  an  angel  from  heaven  preach 
unto  you  any  other  Gospel  than  that  which 
we  have  preached  unto  you,  let  him  be 
accursed."  It  was  not  enough  for  the  preser- 
vation of  the  faith  once  delivered  to  have 
referred  to  man;  he  must  needs  comprehend 
angels  also.  "Though  we,"  he  says,  "or  an 
angel  from  heaven."  Not  that  the  holy 
angels  of  heaven  are  now  capable  of  sinning. 
But  what  he  means  is :  Even  if  that  were  to 
happen  which  cannot  happen, —  if  any  one,  be 
he  who  he  may,  attempt  to  alter  the  faith 
once  for  all  delivered,  let  him  be  accursed. 

[23.]  But  it  may  be,  he  spoke  thus  in  the 
first  instance  inconsiderately,  giving  vent  to 
human  impetuosity  rather  than  expressing 
himself  under  divine  guidance.  Far  from 
it.  He  follows  up  what  he  had  said,  and 
urges  it  with  intense  reiterated  earnestness, 
"As  we  said  before,  so  say  I  now  again,  If 
any  man  preach  any  other  Gospel  to  you 
than  that  ye  have  received,  let  him  be 
accursed."  He  does  not  say,  "If  any  man 
deliver  to  you  another  message  than  that  you 
have  received,  let  him  be  blessed,  praised, 
welcomed,"  —  no;  but  "  let  him  be  accursed," 
\anafhema\  i.e.,  separated,  segregated,  ex- 
cluded, lest  the  dire  contagion  of  a  single 
sheep  contaminate  the  guiltless  flock  of  Christ 
by  his  poisonous  intermixture  with  them. 


.      CHAPTER   IX. 

His  warning  to  the  Galatians  a  warning  to  all. 

[24.]  But,  possibly,  this  warning  was 
intended  for  the  Galatians  only.  Be  it  so ; 
then  those  other  exhortations  which  follow  in 
the  same  Epistle  were  intended  for  the  Gala- 
tians only,  such  as,  "  If  we  live  in  the  Spirit, 
let  us  also  walk  in  the  Spirit;  let  us  not 
be  desirous  of  vain  glory,  provoking  one 
another,  envying  one  another,"  etc. ;  ^  which 
alternative  if  it  be  absurd,  and  the  injunctions 
were  meant  equally  for  all,  then  it  follows, 
that  as  these  injunctions  which  relate  to 
morals,  so  those  warnings  which  relate  to  faith 
are  meant  equally  for  all ;  and  just  as  it  is 
unlawful  for  all  to  provoke  one  another,  or  to 
envy  one  another,  so,  likewise,  it  is  unlawful 

1  Gal.  V.  2S- 


for  all  to  receive  any  other  Gospel  than  that 
which  the  Catholic  Church  preaches  every- 
where. 

[25.]  Or  perhaps  the  anathema  pronounced 
on  any  one  who  should  preach  another  Gospel 
than  that  which  had  been  preached  was 
meant  for  those  times,  not  for  the  present. 
Then,  also,  the  exhortation,  "Walk  in  the 
Spirit  and  ye  shall  not  fulfil  the  lust  of  the 
flesh,"  ^  was  meant  for  those  times,  not  for 
the  present.  But  if  it  be  both  impious  and 
pernicious  to  believe  this,  then  it  follows 
necessarily,  that  as  these  injunctions  are  to  be 
observed  by  all  ages,  so  those  warnings  also 
which  forbid  alteration  of  the  faith  are  warn- 
ings intended  for  all  ages.  To  preach  any  doc- 
trine therefore  to  Catholic  Christians  other 
than  what  they  have  received  never  was  lawful, 
never  is  lawful,  never  will  be  lawful:  and  to 
anathematize  those  who  preach  anything  other 
than  what  has  once  been  received,  always  was 
a  duty,  always  is  a  duty,  always  will  be  a  duty. 

[26.]  Which  being  the  case,  is  there  any 
one  either  so  audacious  as  to  preach  any 
other  doctrine  than  that  which  the  Church 
preaches,  or  so  inconstant  as  to  receive  any 
other  doctrine  than  that  which  he  has  received 
from  the  Church?  That  elect  vessel,  that 
teacher  of  the  Gentiles,  that  trumpet  of  the 
apostles,  that  preacher  whose  commission 
was  to  the  whole  earth,  that  man  who  was 
caught  up  to  heaven,^  cries  and  cries  again  in 
his  Epistles  to  all,  always,  in  all  places,  "If 
any  man  preach  any  new  doctrine,  let  him  be 
accursed."  On  the  other  hand,  an  ephemeral, 
moribund  set  of  frogs,  fleas,  and  flies,  such  as 
the  Pelagians,  call  out  in  opposition,  and 
that  to  Catholics,  "Take  our  word,  follow  our 
lead,  accept  our  exposition,  condemn  what 
you  used  to  hold,  hold  what  you  used  to 
condemn,  cast  aside  the  ancient  faith,  the 
institutes  of  your  fathers,  the  trusts  left  for 
you  by  your  ancestors  and  receive  instead, 
—  what?  I  tremble  to  utter  it:  for  it  is  so  full 
of  arrogance  and  self-conceit,  that  it  seems 
to  me  that  not  only  to  affirm  it,  but  even  to 
refute  it,  cannot  be  done  without  guilt  in 
some  sort. 


CHAPTER   X. 

Why  Eminent  Men  are  permitted  by  God  to  become  Authors 
of  Novelties  in  the  Church. 

[27.]  But  some  one  will  ask.  How  is  it 
then,  that  certain  excellent  persons,  and  of 
position  in  the  Church,  are  often  permitted 
by  God  to  preach  novel  doctrines  to 
Catholics?      A     proper     question,   certainly, 


Gal.  V.  16. 


'  2  Cor.  xii.  2. 


1^.8 


VINCENT    OF    LERINS. 


and  one  which  ought  to  be  very  carefully 
and  fully  dealt  with,  but  answered  at  the 
same  time,  not  in  reliance  upon  one's  own 
ability,  but  by  the  authority  of  the  divine 
Law,  and  by  appeal  to  the  Church's  deter- 
mination. 

Let  us  listen,  then,  to  Holy  Moses,  and  let 
him  teach  us  why  learned  men,  and  such  as 
because  of  their  knowledge  are  even  called 
Prophets  by  the  apostle,  are  sometimes  per- 
mitted to  put  forth  novel  doctrines,  which  the 
Old  Testament  is  wont,  by  way  of  allegory, 
to  call  "  strange  gods,"  forasmuch  as  heretics 
pay  the  same  sort  of  reverence  to  their  notions 
that  the  Gentiles  do  to  their  gods. 

[28.]  Blessed  Moses,  then,  writes  thus  in 
Deuteronomy :  ^  ''If  there  arise  among  you  a 
prophet  or  a  dreamer  of  dreams,"  that  is,  one 
holding  office  as  a  Doctor  in  the  Church,  who 
is  believed  by  his  disciples  or  auditors  to 
teach  by  revelation:  well,  — what  follows? 
"and  giveth  thee  a  sign  or  a  wonder,  and  the 
sign  or  the  wonder  come  to  pass  whereof  he 
spake,"  —  he  is  pointing  to  some  eminent 
doctor,  whose  learning  is  such  that  his  fol- 
lowers believe  him  not  only  to  know  things 
human,  but,  moreover,  to  foreknow  things 
superhuman,  such  as,  their  disciples  commonly 
boast,  were  Valentinus,  Donatus,  Photinus, 
Apollinaris,  and  the  rest  of  that  sort!  What 
next?  "And  shall  say  to  thee,  Let  us  go  after 
other  gods,  whom  thou  knowest  not,  and  serve 
them."  What  are  those  other  gods  but  strange 
errors  which  thou  knowest  not,  that  is,  new 
and  such  as  were  never  heard  of  before  ?  "  And 
let  us  serve  them;"  that  is,  "Let  us  believe 
them,  follow  them."  What  last?  "Thoushalt 
not  hearken  to  the  words  of  that  prophet  or 
dreamer  of  dreams."  And  why,  I  pray  thee, 
does  not  God  forbid  to  be  taught  what  God 
forbids  to  be  heard?  "For  the  Lord,  your 
God,  trieth  you,  to  know  whether  you  love  Him 
with  all  your  heart  and  with  all  your  soul." 
The  reason  is  clearer  than  day  why  Divine 
Providence  sometimes  permits  certain  doctors 
of  the  Churches  to  preach  new  doctrines  — 
"That  the  Lord  your  God  may  try  you,"  he 
says.  And  assuredly  it  is  a  great  trial  when 
one  whom  thou  believest  to  be  a  prophet,  a 
disciple  of  prophets,  a  doctor  and  defender  of 
the  truth,  whom  thou  hast  folded  to  thy  breast 
with  the  utmost  veneration  and  love,  when 
such  a  one  of  a  sudden  secretly  and  furtively 
brings  in  noxious  errrors,  which  thou  canst 
neither  quickly  detect,  being  held  by  the 
prestige  of  former  authority,  nor  lightly  think 
it  right  to  condemn,  being  prevented  by  affec- 
tion for  thine  old  master. 


'  Deut.  xiii.  i.  etc. 


CHAPTER   XL 

Examples   from   Church    History,   confirming   the   words   of 
Moses,  —  Nestorius,  Photinus,  ApoUinaris. 

[29.]  Here,  perhaps,  some  one  will  require 
us  to  illustrate  the  words  of  holy  Moses  by 
examples  from  Church  History.  The  demand 
is  a  fair  one,  nor  shall  it  wait  long  for  satis- 
faction. 

For  to  take  first  a  very  recent  and  very 
plain  case:  what  sort  of  trial,  think  we,  was 
that  which  the  Church  had  experience  of  the 
other  day,  when  that  unhappy  Nestorius,^  all 
at  once  metamorphosed  from  a  sheep  into  a 
wolf,  began  to  make  havoc  of  the  flock  of 
Christ,  while  as  yet  a  large  proportion  of 
those  whom  he  was  devouring  believed  him 
to  be  a  sheep,  and  consequently  were  the 
more  exposed  to  his  attacks  ?  For  who  would 
readily  suppose  him  to  be  in  error,  who  was 
known  to  have  been  elected  by  the  high  choice 
of  the  Emperor,  and  to  be  held  in  the  greatest 
esteem  by  the  priesthood?  who  would  readily 
suppose  him  to  be  in  error,  who,  greatly 
beloved  by  the  holy  brethren,  and  in  high 
favor  with  the  populace,  expounded  the  Scrip- 
tures in  public  daily,  and  confuted  the 
pestilent  errors  both  of  Jews  and  Heathens? 
Who  could  choose  but  believe  that  his  teach- 
ing was  Orthodox,  his  preaching  Orthodox, 
his  belief  Orthodox,  who,  that  he  might 
open  the  way  to  one  heresy  of  his  own,  was 
zealously  inveighing  against  the  blasphemies 
of  all  heresies?  But  this  was  the  very  thing 
which  Moses  says :  "  The  Lord  your  God  doth 
try  you  that  He  may  know  whether  you  love 
Him  or  not." 

[30.]  Leaving  Nestorius,  in  whom  there 
was  always  more  that  men  admired  than  they 
were  profited  by,  more  of  show  than  of  reality, 
whom  natural  ability,  rather  than  divine 
grace,  magnified  for  a  time  in  the  opinion  of 
the  common  people,  let  us  pass  on  to  speak 
of  those  who,  being  persons  of  great  attain- 
ments and  of  much  industr}',  proved  no  small 
trial  to  Catholics.  Such,  for  instance,  was 
Photinus,  in  Pannonia,^  who,  in  the  memory 


2  Nestorius  was  a  native  of  Germanicia,  a  town  in  the  patriarchate 
of  .-^ntioch,  of  which  Cluirch  lie  bi.canie  a  Presbyter.  On  the  See  of 
Constantinople  becoming  vacant  by  the  death  of  Sisinnius,  the 
Emperor  Theodosius  sent  for  him  and  caused  him  to  be  consecrated 
Archbishop.  He  was  at  tirst  extremely  popular,  and  so  eloquent  that 
people  said  of  him  (what  was  nuich  to  be  said  of  a  successor  of 
Chrysostom),  that  there  had  never  before  been  such  a  bishop.  He 
was  condenmed  by  the  Council  of  Ephesus,  in  431.  The  emperor, 
after  ordering  him  to  return  to  the  monastery  to  which  he  formally 
belonged,  eventually  banished  him  to  the  great  Oasis,  whence  he 
was  harried  from  place  to  place  till  death  put  an  end  to  his  suffer- 
ings, in  440.      F.ziagrius,  i.  7. 

3  I'hotinus,  bishop  of  Sirmium  in  Pannonia,  was  a  native  of 
Galatia,  and  a  disciple  of  .Marcelhis  of  Ancyra.  Bishop  Pearson  (on 
the  Creed,  Art.  11)  has  an  elaborate  note,  in  which  he  collects 
together  many  notices  of  him  left  by  the  ancients.  These  agree  with 
Vincentius  in  representing  him  as  a  man  of  extraordinan,-  abilitv  and 
of   consummate  eloquence.      His  heresy  consisted  in  the  denial  of 


A   COMMONITORY. 


139 


of  our  fathers,  is  said  to  have  been  a  trial 
to  the  Church  of  Sirmium,  where,  when  he 
had  been  raised  to  the  priesthood  with  uni- 
versal approbation,  and  had  discharged  the 
office  for  some  time  as  a  Catholic,  all  of  a 
sudden,  like  that  evil  prophet  or  dreamer  of 
dreams  w'hom  Moses  refers  to,  he  began  to 
persuade  the  people  whom  God  had  intrusted 
to  his  charge,  to  follow  "strange  gods,"  that 
is,  strange  errors,  which  before  they  knew  not. 
But  there  was  nothing  unusual  in  this:  the 
mischief  of  the  matter  was,  that  for  the  perpe- 
tration of  so  great  wickedness  he  availed 
himself  of  no  ordinary  helps.  For  he 
was  of  great  natural  ability  and  of  powerful 
eloquence,  and  had  a  wealth  of  learning, 
disputing  and  writing  copiously  and  forcibly 
in  both  languages,  as  his  books  which  remain, 
composed  partly  in  Greek,  partly  in  Latin, 
testify.  But  happily  the  sheep  of  Christ 
committed  to  him,  vigilant  and  wary  for  the 
Catholic  faith,  quickly  turned  their  eyes  to 
the  premonitory  words  of  Moses,  and,  though 
admiring  the  eloquence  of  their  prophet  and 
pastor,  were  not  blind  to  the  trial.  For  from 
thenceforward  they  began  to  flee  from  him  as 
a  w^olf,  whom  formerly  they  had  followed  as 
the  ram  of  the  flock. 

[31.]  Nor  is  it  only  in  the  instance  of 
Photinus  that  we  learn  the  danger  of  this 
trial  to  the  Church,  and  are  admonished 
withal  of  the  need  of  double  diligence  in 
guarding  the  faith.  Apollinaris^  holds  out  a 
like  warning.  For  he  gave  rise  to  great 
burning  questions  and  sore  peplexities  among 
his  disciples,  the  Church's  authority  drawing 
them  one  way,  their  Master's  influence  the 
opposite;  so  that,  wavering  and  tossed  hither 
and  thither  between  the  two,  they  were  at  a 
loss  what  course  to  take. 

But  perhaps  he  was  a  person  of  no  weight 
of  character.  On  the  contrary,  he  was  so 
eminent  and  so  highly  esteemed  that  his  word 
would  only  too  readily  be  taken  on  whatsoever 
subject.     For  what   could  exceed  his  acute- 


our  blessed  Lord's  divine  nature,  whom  he  regarded  as  man,  and 
nothing  more,  xpi^oi  avdpi^-rros,  and  as  having  had  no  existence 
before  his  birth  of  the  Virgin.  He  was  condemned  in  several  synods, 
the  fifth  of  which,  a  Council  of  the  Western  bishops,  held  at  Sir- 
mium, in  350,  deposed  him.  But  in  spite  of  the  deposition,  so  great 
was  his  popularity,  that  he  could  not  even  yet  be  removed.  The 
following  year  however  he  was  by  another  council,  held  at  the  same 
place,  again  condemned,  and  sent  into  banishment.  He  died  in 
Galatia,  in  377.  See  Cave,  /iist.  Lit.,  who  refers  with  praise  to  a 
learned  dissertation  on  Photinus  by  Larroque. 

*  ApoUinaris  the  younger  (a  contemporary  of  Photinus),  bishop 
of  Laodicea  in  Syria,  was  one  of  the  most  distinguished  men  of  the 
age  in  which  he  lived.  Epiphanius  (Har.  Ixxvii.  2),  referring  to  his 
fall  into  heresy,  says  that  when  it  first  began  to  be  spoken  of,  people 
would  hardly  credit  it,  so  great  was  the  estimation  in  which  he  was 
held.  His  heresy,  which  consisted  in  the  denial  of  the  verity  of  our 
Lord's  human  nature,  the  Divine  Word  supplying  the  place  of  the 
rational  soul,  and  in  the  assertion  that  his  fiesh  was  not  derived  from 
the  Virgin,  but  was  brought  down  from  heaven,  was  condemned  by 
the  Council  of  Constantinople,  in  381  (Canon  L).  It  was  in  reference 
to  the  latter  form  of  it  that  the  clause  "of  the  Holy  Ghost  and  the 
Virgin  Mary  "  was  inserted  in  the  Nicene  Creed. 


ness,  his  adroitness,  his  learning?  How 
many  heresies  did  he,  in  many  volumes,  anni- 
hilate !  How  many  errors,  hostile  to  the 
faith,  did  he  confute!  A  proof  of  which  is 
that  most  noble  and  vast  work,  of  not  less 
than  .thirty  books,  in  which,  with  a  great 
mass  of  arguments,  he  repelled  the  insane 
calumnies  of  Porphyry.^  It  would  take  a 
long  time  to  enumerate  all  his  works,  which 
assuredly  would  have  placed  him  on  a  level 
with  the  very  chief  of  the  Church's  builders, 
if  that  profane  lust  of  heretical  curiosity  had 
not  led  him  to  devise  I  know  not  what  novelty 
which  as  though  through  the  contagion  of  a  sort 
of  leprosy  both  defiled  all  his  labours,  and 
caused  his  teachings  to  be  pronounced  the 
Church's  trial  instead  of  the  Church's  edifi- 
cation. 

CHAPTER   Xn. 

A    fuller    account   of    the   Errors    of   Photinus,   ApoUinaris 
and    Nestorius. 

[32.]  Here,  possibly,  I  maybe  asked  for 
some  account  of  the  above  mentioned 
heresies;  those,  namely,  of  Nestorius,  Apol- 
linaris,  and  Photinus.  This,  indeed,  does 
not  belong  to  the  matter  in  hand :  for  our  ob- 
ject is  not  to  enlarge  upon  the  errors  of  indi- 
viduals, but  to  produce  instances  of  a  few,  in 
whom  the  applicability  of  Moses'  words  may 
be  evidently  and  clearly  seen;  that  is  to 
say,  that  if  at  any  time  some  Master  in 
the  Church,  himself  also  a  prophet  in  inter- 
preting the  mysteries  of  the  prophets,  should 
attempt  to  introduce  some  novel  doctrine 
into  the  Church  of  God,  Divine  Providence 
permits  this  to  happen  in  order  to  try  us.  It 
will  be  useful,  therefore,  by  way  of  digres- 
sion, to  give  a  brief  account  of  the  opin- 
ions of  the  above-named  heretics,  Photinus, 
ApoUinaris,  Nestorius. 

[^Z-l  The  heresy  of  Photinus,  then,  is  as 
follows:  He  says  that  God  is  singular  and 
sole,  and  is  to  be  regarded  as  the  Jews 
regarded  Him.  He  denies  the  completeness 
of  the  Trinity,  and  does  not  believe  that 
there  is  any  Person  of  God  the  Word,  or  any 
Person  of  the  Holy  Ghost.  Christ  he  affirms 
to  be  a  mere  man,  whose  original  was  from 
Mary.  Hence  he  insists  with  the  utmost 
obstinacy  that  we  are  to  render  worship  only 
to  the  Person  of  God  the  Father,  and  that  we 
are  to  honour  Christ  as  man  only.  This  is  the 
doctrine  of  Photinus. 

[34.]  ApoUinaris,  affecting  to  agree  with  the 
Church  as  to  the  unity  of  the  Trinity,  though 


'  This  work,  of  which  St.  Jerome  speaks  in  high  terms  {de  Viris 
Illusir.,  c.  104),  has  not  come  down  to  us,  nor  indeed  have  his  other 
writings,  except  in  fragments. 


140 


VINCENT   OF    LERINS. 


not  this  even  with  entire  soundness  of  belief,^ 
as  to  the  Incarnation  of  the  Lord,  blas- 
phemes openly.  For  he  says  that  the  flesh 
of  our  Saviour  was  either  altogether  devoid  of 
a  human  soul,  or,  at  all  events,  was  devoid 
of  a  rational  soul.  Moreover,  he  says  that 
this  same  flesh  of  the  Lord  was  not  received 
from  the  flesh  of  the  holy  Virgin  Mary,  but 
came  down  from  heaven  into  the  Virgin ;  and, 
ever  wavering  and  undecided,  he  preaches 
one  while  that  it  was  co-eternal  with  God  the 
Word,  another  that  it  was  made  of  the  divine 
nature  of  the  Word.  For,  denying  that  there 
are  two  substances  in  Christ,  one  divine, 
the  other  human,  one  from  the  Father,  the 
other  from  his  mother,  he  holds  that  the  very 
nature  of  the  Word  was  divided,  as  though 
one  part  of  it  remained  in  God,  the  other  was 
converted  into  flesh :  so  that  whereas  the  truth 
says  that  of  two  substances  there  is  one 
Christ,  he  affirms,  contrary  to  the  truth,  that 
of  the  one  divinity  of  Christ  there  are  become 
two  substances.  This,  then,  is  the  doctrine 
of  Apollinaris. 

[35.]  Nestorius,  whose  disease  is  of  an 
opposite  kind,  while  pretending  that  he  holds 
two  distinct  substances  in  Christ,  brings  in  of 
a  sudden  two  Persons,  and  with  unheard  of 
wickedness  would  have  two  sons  of  God,  two 
Christs,  —  one,  God,  the  other,  man,  one,  be- 
gotten of  his  Father,  the  other,  born  of  his 
mother.  For  which  reason  he  maintains  that 
Saint  Mary  ought  to  be  called,  not  Thcotocos 
(the  mother  of  God),  but  Christotocos  (the 
mother  of  Christ),  seeing  that  she  gave  birth 
not  to  the  Christ  who  is  God,  but  to  the 
Christ  who  is  man.  But  if  any  one  supposes 
that  in  his  writings  he  speaks  of  one  Christ, 
and  preaches  one  Person  of  Christ,  let  him 
not  lightly  credit  it.  For  either  this  is  a 
crafty  device,  that  by  means  of  good  he  may 
the  more  easily  persuade  evil,  according  to 
that  of  the  apostle,  "That  which  is  good 
was  made  death  to  me,'"^ — either,  I  say,  he 
craftily  affects  in  some  places  in  his  writ- 
ings to  believe  one  Christ  and  one  Person  of 
Christ,  or  else  he  says  that  after  the  Virgin 
had  brought  forth,  the  two  Persons  were 
united  into  one  Christ,  though  at  the  time  of 
her  conception  or  parturition,  and  for  some 
short  time  afterwards,  there  were  two  Christs; 
so  that  forsooth,  though  Christ  was  born  at 
first  an  ordinary  man  and  nothing  more,  and 
not  as  yet  associated  in  unity  of  Person  with 
the  Word  of  God,  yet  afterwards  the  Person 
of  the  Word  assuming  descended  upon  Him; 
and  though  now  the  Person  assumed  remains 

'  "  Et  hoc  ipsum  non  plena  fitlei  sanitate."  —  Tlie  Cambridge 
Ed.,  1687,  with  Baluzius's  notes  appended,  reads,  "  et  hoc  ipsum  plena 
fidei  sanctitate." 

•  Rom.  vii.  13. 


in  the  glory  of  God,  yet  once  there  would 
seem  to  have  been  no  difference  between 
Him  and  all  other  men. 


CHAPTER   XHL 

The   Catholic  Doctrine   of   the   Trinity  and   the   Incarnation 

explained. 

[36.]  In  these  ways  then  do  these  rabid 
dogs,  Nestorius,  Apollinaris,  and  Photinus, 
bark  against  the  Catholic  faith:  Photinus, 
by  denying  the  Trinity;  Apollinaris,  by  teach- 
ing that  the  nature  of  the  Word  is  mutable,  and 
refusing  to  acknowledge  that  there  are  two 
suSstances  in  Christ,  denying  moreover  either 
that  Christ  had  a  soul  at  all,  or,  at  all  events, 
that  he  had  a  rational  soul,  and  asserting  that 
the  Word  of  God  supplied  the  place  of  the 
rational  soul;  Nestorius,  by  affirming  that  there 
were  always  or  at  any  rate  that  once  there 
were  two  Christs.  But  the  Catholic  Church, 
holding  the  right  faith  both  concerning  God 
and  concerning  our  Saviour,  is  guilty  of  blas- 
phemy neither  in  the  mystery  of  the  Trinity, 
nor  in  that  of  the  Incarnation  of  Christ.  For 
she  worships  both  one  Godhead  in  the  plenitude 
of  the  Trinity,  and  the  equality  of  the  Trinity 
in  one  and  the  same  majesty,  and  she  confesses 
one  Christ  Jesus,  not  two ;  the  same  both  God 
and  man,  the  one  as  truly  as  the  other.^ 
One  Person  indeed  she  believes  in  Him,  but 
two  substances;  two  substances  but  one 
Person :  Two  substances,  because  the  Word 
of  God  is  not  mutable,  so  as  to  be  converti- 
ble into  flesh ;  one  Person,  lest  by  acknow- 
ledging two  sons  she  should  seem  to  worship 
not  a  Trinity,  but  a  Quaternity 

[37.]  But  it  will  be  well  to  unfold  this  same 
doctrine  more  distinctly  and  explicitly  again 
and  again. 

In  God  there  is  one  substance,  but  three 
Persons;  in  Christ  two  substances,  but  one 
Person.  In  the  Trinity,  another  and  another 
Person,  not  another  and  another  substance 
(distinct  Persons,  not  distinct  substances) ;  * 
in  the  Saviour  another  and  another  substance, 
not  another  and  another  Person,  (distinct 
substances,  not  distinct  Persons.  How  in 
the  Trinitv  another  and  another  Person 
(distinct  Persons)  not  another  and  another 
substance  (distinct  substances)  ?  '"  Because 
there   is  one  Person  of   the   Father,   another 


'  Unum  Christum  Jesum  non  duos,  eundemque  Deum  pariter 
atque  Hominem  confitetur.  Compare  the  Athauasian  Creed,  "  Est 
ergo  fides  recta  et  credamus  et  confiteamur,  quia  Dominus  Noster 
Jesus  Christus.     Dei  Filius,  Deus  pariter  et  Homo  est." 

*  In  Trinitnte  alius  atque  alius,  non  aliud  atque  aliud.  In  Salvatore 
aliud  atque  aliud,  non  alius  atque  alius. 

6  Aliud  atque  aliud,  non  alius  atque  alius. 


A   COMMONITORY. 


141 


of  the  Son,  another  of  the  Holy  Ghost;' 
but  yet  there  is  not  another  and  another 
nature  (distinct  natures)  but  one  and  the 
same  nature.  How  in  the  Saviour  another 
and  another  substance,  not  another  and  an- 
other Person  (two  distinct  substances,  not 
two  distinct  Persons)  ?  Because  there  is  one 
substance  of  the  Godhead,  another  of  the 
manhood.  But  yet  the  Godhead  and  the 
manhood  are  not  another  and  another  Person 
(two  distinct  Persons),  but  one  and  the  same 
Christ,  one  and  the  same  Son  of  God,  and 
one  and  the  same  Person  of  one  and  the 
same  Christ  and  Son  of  God,  in  like  manner 
as  in  man  the  flesh  is  one  thing  and  the  soul 
another,  but  one  and  the  same  man,  both  soul 
and  flesh.  In  Peter  and  Paul  the  soul  is 
one  thing,  the  flesh  another;  yet  there  are  not 
two  Peters,  — one  soul,  the  other  flesh,  or  two 
Pauls,  one  soul,  the  other  flesh, —  but  one  and 
the  same  Peter,  and  one  and  the  same  Paul,  con- 
sisting each  of  two  diverse  natures,  soul  and 
body.  Thus,  then,  in  one  and  the  same  Christ 
there  are  two  substances,  one  divine,  the 
other  human ;  one  of  (ex)  God  the  Father,  the 
other  of  (ex)  the  Virgin  Mother;  one  co- 
eternal  with  and  co-equal  with  the  Father,  the 
other  temporal  and  inferior  to  the  Father; 
one  consubstantial  with  his  Father,  the  other 
consubstantial  with  his  Mother,  but  one  and 
the  same  Christ  in  both  substances.  There 
is  not,  therefore,  one  Christ  God,  the  other 
man,  not  one  uncreated,  the  other  created; 
not  one  impassible,  the  other  passible;  not 
one  equal  to  the  Father,  the  other  inferior  to 
the  Father;  not  one  of  his  Father  (ex),  the 
other  of  his  Mother  (ex),  but  one  and  the  same 
Christ,  God  and  man,  the  same  uncreated  and 
created,  the  same  unchangeable  and  incapable 
of  sufifering,  the  same  acquainted  by  experi- 
ence with  both  change  and  suffering,  the  same 
equal  to  the  Father  and  inferior  to  the  Father, 
the  same  begotten  of  the  Father  before  time, 
("before  the  world"),  the  same  born  of  his 
mother  in  time  ("in  the  world  "),^  perfect 
God,  perfect  Man.  In  God  supreme  divinity, 
in  man  perfect  humanity.  Perfect  humanity, 
I  say,  forasmuch  as  it  hath  both  soul  and 
flesh;  the  flesh,  very  flesh;  our  flesh,  his 
mother's  flesh;  the  soul,  intellectual,  endowed 
with  mind  and  reason.  There  is  then  in 
Christ  the  Word,  the  soul,  the  flesh;  but  the 
whole   is  one   Christ,    one   Son  of  God,   and 


'  Quia  scilicet  alia  est  Persona  Patris,  alia  Filii,  alia  Spiritus  Sancti 
sed  tamen  Patris  et  Filii  et  .Spiritus  Sancti  non  alia  et  alia  sed  una 
cadunque  natnra.  So  the  Athanasian  Creed,  "  Alia  est  enim  Persona 
Patris,  alia  Filii,  alia  Spiritus  Sancti,  sed  Patris  et  Filii  et  Spiritus 
Sancti  una  est  Divinitas,  etc."  The  coincidence  between  the  whole 
of  this  context  and  the  Athanasian  Creed  is  very  observable,  though 
the  agreement  is  not  always  exact  to  the  very  letter. 

-  Idem  ex  Patre  ante  sscula  genitus.  Idem  in  sxculo  ex  matre 
generatus.  Compare  the  Athanasian  Creed,  "  Deus  est  ex  substantia 
Patris  ante  s^cula  genitus;  Homo  ex  substantia  Matns  in  sjecuIo 
natus."     See  Appendix  I. 


one  our  Saviour  and  Redeemer:  One,  not  by  I 
know  not  what  corruptible  confusion  of  God- 
head and  manhood,  but  by  a  certain  entire  and 
singular  unity  of  Person.  For  the  conjunc- 
tion hath  not  converted  and  changed  the  one 
nature  into  the  other,  (which  is  the  character- 
istic error  of  the  Arians),  but  rather  hath  in 
such  wise  compacted  both  into  one,  that  while 
there  always  remains  in  Christ  the  singularity 
of  one  and  the  self-same  Person,  there  abides 
eternally  withal  the  characteristic  property  of 
each  nature;  whence  it  follows,  that  neither 
doth  God  (i.e.,  the  divine  nature)  ever  begin 
to  be  body,  nor  doth  the  body  ever  cease  to  be 
body.  The  which  maybe  illustrated  in  human 
nature:  for  not  only  in  the  present  life,  but 
in  the  future  also,  each  individual  man  will 
consist  of  soul  and  body;  nor  will  his  body 
ever  be  converted  into  soul,  or  his  soul  into 
body;  but  while  each  individual  man  will 
live  for  ever,  the  distinction  between  the  two 
substances  will  continue  in  each  individual 
man  for  ever.  So  likewise  in  Christ  each 
substance  will  for  ever  retain  its  own  char- 
acteristic property,  yet  without  prejudice  to 
the  unity  of  Person. 


CHAPTER   XIV. 

Jesus  Christ  Man  in  Truth,  not  in  Semblance. 

[38.]  But  when  we  use  the  word  '"Person," 
and  say  that  God  became  man  by  means  of  a 
Person,  there  is  reason  to  fear  that  our  mean- 
ing may  be  taken  to  be,  that  God  the  Word 
assumed  our  nature  merely  in  imitation,  and 
peformed  the  actions  of  man,  being  man  not 
in  reality,  but  only  in  semblance,  just  as  in  a 
theatre,  one  man  within  a  brief  space  repre- 
sents several  persons,  not  one  of  whom  him- 
self is.  For  when  one  undertakes  to  sustain 
the  part  of  another,  he  performs  the  ofiices,  or 
does  the  acts,  of  the  person  whose  part  he  sus- 
tains, but  he  is  not  himself  that  person.  So, 
to  take  an  illustration  from  secular  life  and 
one  in  high  favour  with  the  Manichees,  when 
a  tragedian  represents  a  priest  or  a  king,  he  is 
not  really  a  priest  or  a  king.  For,  as  soon  as 
the  play  is  over,  the  person  or  character  whom 
he  represented  ceases  to  be.  God  forbid  that 
we  should  have  anything  to  do  with  such  nefa- 
rious and  wicked  mockery.  Be  it  the  infatu- 
ation of  the  Manichees,  those  preachers  of 
hallucination,  who  say  that  the  Son  of  God, 
God,  was  not  a  human  person  really  and  truly, 
but  that  He  counterfeited  the  person  of  a  man 
in  feigned  conversation  and  manner  of  life. 

[39.]  But  the  Catholic  Faith  teaches  that 
the  Word  of  God  became  man  in  such  wise, 
that  He  took  upon  Him  our  nature,  not  feign- 


142 


VINCENT   OF   LERINS. 


edly   and   in   semblance,   but  in  reality   and 
truth,  and  performed  human  actions,    not  as 


thoutrh    He    were 


imitating 


the    actions    of 


another,  but  as  performing  His  own,  and  as 
being  in  reality  the  person  whose  part  He 
sustained.  Just  as  we  ourselves  also,  when 
we  speak,  reason,  live,  subsist,  do  not  imitate 
men,  but  are  men.  Peter  and  John,  for  in- 
stance, were  men,  not  by  imitation,  but  by 
being  men  in  reality.  Paul  did  not  counter- 
feit an  apostle,  or  feign  himself  to  be  Paul, 
but  was  an  apostle,  was  Paul.  So,  also,  that 
which  God  the  Word  did,  in  His  condescen- 
sion, in  assuming  and  having  flesh,  in  speak- 
ing, acting,  and  suffering,  through  the  instru- 
mentality of  flesh,  yet  without  any  marring 
of  His  own  divine  nature,  came  in  one  word 
to  this:  —  He  did  not  imitate  or  feign  Himself 
to  be  perfect  man,  but  He  shewed  Himself  to 
be  very  man  in  reality  and  truth.  There- 
fore, as  the  soul  united  to  the  flesh,  but  yet 
not  changed  into  flesh,  does  not  imitate  man, 
but  is  man,  and  man  not  feignedly  but  sub- 
stantially, so  also  God  the  Word,  without  any 
conversion  of  Himself,  in  uniting  Himself  to 
man,  became  man,  not  by  confusion,  not  by 
imitation,  but  by  actually  being  and  subsist- 
ing. Away  then,  once  and  for  all,  with  the 
notion  of  His  Person  as  of  an  assumed  ficti- 
tious character,  where  always  what  is  is  one 
thing,  what  is  counterfeited  another,  where 
the  man  who  acts  never  is  the  man  whose  part 
he  acts.  God  forbid  that  we  should  believe 
God  the  Word  to  have  taken  upon  Himself 
the  person  of  a  man  in  this  illusory  way. 
Rather  let  us  acknowledge  that  while  His  own 
unchangeable  substance  remained,  and  while 
He  took  upon  Himself  the  nature  of  perfect 
man.  Himself  actually  was  flesh.  Himself  actu- 
ally was  man.  Himself  actually  was  personally 
man;  not  feignedly,  but  in  truth,  not  in  imita- 
tion, but  in  substance;  not,  finally,  so  as  to 
cease  to  be  when  the  performance  was  over, 
but  so  as  to  be,  and  continue  to  be  substantially 
and  permanently.  ^ 

CHAPTER  XV. 

The  Union  of  the  Divine  with  the  Human  Nature  took  place  in 
the  very  Conception  of  the  Virgin.  The  appellation  "  The 
Mother  of  God." 

[40.]  This  unity  of  Person,  then,  in  Christ 
was  not  effected  after  His  birth  of  the  Virgin, 
but  was  compacted  and  perfected  in  her  very 

1  The  word  "  Person  "  is  used  in  this  and  the  preceding  section 
in  a  way  which  might  seem  at  variance  with  Catholic  truth.  Christ 
did  not  assume  the  Person  of  a  man;  but,  bein?  God,  He  united  in 
his  one  divine  Person,  the  Godhead  and  the  Manhood.  Tliis  Vin- 
centius  himself  teaches  most  explicitly.  Hut  his  object  here  is  to 
show  that  our  blessed  Lord,  while  conversant  among  us  as  man,  and 
being  to  all  appearance  man,  did  nol  personate  man,  but  was  man  in 
deed  and  in  truth.  The  misconception  against  which  Viiicentius 
seeks  to  guard  arises  from  the  ambiguity  of  the  Latin  Persona,  an 


womb.  For  we  must  take  most  especial  heed 
that  we  confess  Christ  not  only  one,  but 
always  one.  For  it  were  intolerable  blas- 
phemy, if  while  thou  dost  confess  Him  one 
now,  thou  shouldst  maintain  that  once  He  was 
not  one,  but  two;  one  forsooth  since  His  bap- 
tism, but  two  at  His  birth.  Which  monstrous 
sacrilege  we  shall  assuredly  in  no  wise  avoid 
unless  we  acknowledge  the  manhood  united  to 
the  Godhead  (but  by  unity  of  Person),  not  from 
the  ascension,  or  the  resurrection,  or  the  bap- 
tism, but  even  in  His  mother,  even  in  the 
womb,  even  in  the  Virgin's  very  conception.^ 
In  consequence  of  which  unity  of  Person,  both 
those  attributes  which  are  proper  to  God  are 
ascribed  to  man,  and  those  which  are  proper 
to  the  flesh  to  God,  indifferently  and  promis- 
cuously.^ For  hence  it  is  written  by  divine 
guidance,  on  the  one  hand,  that  the  Son  of 
man  came  down  from  heaven ;  ^  and  on  the 
other,  that  the  Lord  of  glory  was  crucified  on 
earth. ^  Hence  it  is  also  that  since  the 
Lord's  flesh  was  made,  since  the  Lord's 
flesh  was  created,  the  very  Word  of  God  fs 
said  to  have  been  made,  the  very  omniscient 
Wisdom  of  God  to  have  been  created,  just  as 
prophetically  His  hands  and  His  feet  are 
described  as  having  been  pierced.®  From  this 
unity  of  Person  it  follows,  by  reason  of  a  like 
mystery,  that,  since  the  flesh  of  the  Word  was 
born  of  an  undefiled  mother,  God  the  Word 
Himself  is  most  Catholicly  believed,  most 
impiously  denied,  to  have  been  born  of  the 
Virgin;  which  being  the  case,  God  forbid  that 
any  one  should  seek  to  defraud  Holy  Mary 
of  her  prerogative  of  divine  grace  and  her 
special  glory.  For  by  the  singular  gift  of 
Him  who  is  our  Lord  and  God,  and  withal, 
her  own  son,  she  is  to  be  confessed  most 
truly  and  most  blessedly — The  mother  of  God 


ambiguity  which  is  not  continued  in  our  derived  word  Person.  Per- 
sona signifies  not  only  Person,  in  our  sense  of  the  word,  but  also  an 
assumed  cliaracter.  Though  however  we  have  not  this  sense  in 
Person,  we  have  it  in  Personate. 

2  If  the  Son  of  God  had  taken  to  Himself  a  man  now  made  and 
alreadv  perfected,  it  would  of  necessity  follow  that  there  are  in 
Christ  two  persons,  the  one  assuming  and  the  other  assumed; 
whereas,  the  Son  t^f  God  did  not  assume  a  man's  person  unto  His 
own,  but  a  man's  nature  to  His  own  person,  and  therefore  took 
semen,  the  seed  of  Abraham,  the  very  first  original  element  of  our 
nature,  before  it  was  come  to  liave  any  personal  human  subsistence. 
The  flesh,  and  the  conjunction  of  the  flesh  with  Ged,  began  both  in 
one  instant.  His  making  and  taking  to  Himself  our  flesh  was  but  one 
act,  so  that  in  Christ  there  is  no  personal  subsistence  but  one,  and 
that  from  everlasting.  By  taking  only  the  nature  of  man  He  still 
continueth  one  person,  andchangeth  but  the  manner  of  His  subsisting, 
which  was  before  in  the  mere  glory  of  the  Son  of  God,  and  is  now 
in  the  habit  of  our  flesh.  — Hooker,  Eccl.  Pol.  v.  52,  §  3. 

5  ".A  kind  of  mutual  commutation  there  is,  whereby  those  con- 
crete names,  God  and  man,  when  we  speak  o{  Christ,  do  take  inter- 
changeablv  one  anotlier's  room,  so  that  for  truth  of  speech,  it  skill- 
eth  not,  whether  we  say  that  the  Son  of  God  hath  created  the  world, 
and  the  Son  of  man  by  His  death  hath  saved  it,  or  else,  that  the  Son 
of  man  did  create,  and  the  Son  of  God  die  to  save  the  world.  How- 
belt,  as  oft  as  we  attribute  to  God  what  the  manhood  of  Christ  claim- 
eth,  or  to  man  what  His  Deity  hath  right  unto,  we  understand  by  the 
name  of  God  and  the  name  of  man  neither  the  one  nor  the  other 
nature,  but  the  whole  person  of  Christ,  in  whom  both  natures  are." 
—  Hooker,  Eccl.  Polity,  v.  53,  §  4.  This  is  technically  called  "The 
Communication  of  Properties,"  Communicatio  idiomatum. 

*  St.  John  iii.  13.  "  1  Cor.  ii.  8.  '^  Ps.  xxii.  16. 


A   COMMONITORY. 


143 


"Theotocos,"  but  not  in  the  sense  in  wliich  it 
is  imagined  by  a  certain  impious  heresy  which 
maintains,  that  she  is  to  be  called  the  Mother 
of  God  for  no  other  reason  than  because  she 
gave  birth  to  that  man  who  afterwards  became 
God,  just  as  we  speak  of  a  woman  as  the 
mother  of  a  priest,  or  the  mother  of  a  bishop, 
meaning  that  she  was  such,  not  by  giving 
birth  to  one  already  a  priest  or  a  bishop,  but 
by  giving  birth  to  one  who  afterwards  became 
a  priest  or  a  bishop.  Not  thus,  I  say,  was 
the  holy  Mary  "Theotocos,"  the  mother  of 
God,  but  rather,  as  was  said  before,  because 
in  her  sacred  womb  was  wrought  that  most 
sacred  mystery  whereby,  on  account  of  the 
singular  and  unique  unity  of  Person,  as  the 
Word  in  flesh  is  flesh,  so  Man  in  God  is  God.^ 

CHAPTER  XVI. 

Recapitulation  of  what  was   said  of  the  Catholic  Faith  and 
of  divers  Heresies,  Chapters  xi-xv. 

[41.]  But  now  that  w'e  may  refresh  our 
remembrance  of  what  has  been  briefly  said 
concerning  either  the  afore-mentioned  heresies 
or  the  Catholic  Faith,  let  us  go  over  it  again 
more  briefly  and  concisely,  that  being  repeated 
it  may  be  more  thoroughly  understood,  and 
being  pressed  home  more  firmly  held. 

Accursed  then  be  Photinus,  who  does  not 
receive  the  Trinity  complete,  but  asserts  that 
Christ  is  mere  man. 

Accursed  be  iVpollinaris,  who  affirms  that 
the  Godhead  of  Christ  is  marred  by  conver- 
sion, and  defrauds  Him  of  the  property  of 
perfect  humanity. 

Accursed  be  Nestorius,  who  denies  that 
God  was  born  of  the  Virgin,  affirms  two 
Christs,  and  rejecting  the  belief  of  the 
Trinity,  brings  in  a  Quaternity. 

But  blessed  be  the  Catholic  Church,  which 
worships  one  God  in  the  completeness  of  the 
Trinity,  and  at  the  same  time  adores  the 
equality  of  the  Trinity  in  the  unity  of  the 
Godhead,  so  that  neither  the  singularity  of 
substance  confounds  the  propriety  of  the  Per- 
sons, not  the  distinction  of  the  Persons  in  the 
Trinity  separates  the  unity  of  the  Godhead. 

Blessed,  I  say,  be  the  Church,  which  be- 
lieves that  in  Christ  there  are  two  true  and 
perfect  substances  but  one  Person,  so  that 
neither  doth  the  distinction  of  natures  divide 
the  unity  of  Person,  nor  the  unity  of  Person 
confound  the  distinction  of  substances. 

Blessed,  I  say,  be  the  Church,  which  under- 
stands God  to  have  become  Man,  not  by  con- 
version of  nature,  but  by  reason  of  a  Person, 

'  Sicut  Verbum  in  carne  caro,  ita  Homo  in  Deo  Deus  est.  Com- 
pare the  Athanasian  Creed,  v.  33,  in  what  is  probably  the  true  read- 
ing, "  Unus  autem,  non  conversione  Divinilatis  in  carne,  sed 
assumptione  Humanitatis  in  Deo." 


but  of   a  Person  not  feigned    and   transient, 
but  substantial  and  permanent. 

Blessed,  I  say,  be  the  Church,  which  de- 
clares this  unity  of  Person  to  be  so  real  and 
effectual,  that  because  of  it,  in  a  marvellous 
and  ineffable  mystery,  she  ascribes  divine  at- 
tributes to  man,  and  human  to  God;  because 
of  it,  on  the  one  hand,  she  does  not  deny  that 
Man,  as  God,  came  down  from  heaven,  on 
the  other,  she  believes  that  God,  as  Man,  was 
created,  suffered,  and  was  crucified  on  earth ; 
because  of  it,  finally,  she  confesses  Man  the 
Son  of  God,  and  God  the  Son  of  the  Virgin. 

Blessed,  then,  and  venerable,  blessed  and 
most  sacred,  and  altogether  worthy  to  be  com- 
pared with  those  celestial  praises  of  the 
Angelic  Host,  be  the  confession  which  ascribes 
glory  to  the  one  Lord  God  with  a  threefold 
ascription  of  holiness.  For  this  reason  more- 
over she  insists  emphatically  upon  the  oneness 
of  the  Person  of  Christ,  that  she  may  not  go 
beyond  the  mystery  of  the  Trinity  (that  is 
by  making  in  effect  a  Quaternity.) 

Thus  much  by  way  of  digression.  On 
another  occasion,  please  God,  we  will  deal 
with  the  subject  and  unfold  it  more  fully. '•^ 
Now  let  us  return  to  the  matter  in  hand. 


CHAPTER   XVn. 

The  Error  of  Origen  a  great  Trial  to  the  Church. 

[42.]  We  said  above  that  in  the  Church  of 
God  the  teacher's  error  is  the  people's  trial, 
a  trial  by  so  much  the  greater  in  proportion 
to  the  greater  learning  of  the  erring  teacher. 
This  we  showed  first  by  the  authority  of 
Scripture,  and  then  by  instances  from  Church 
History,  of  persons  who  having  at  one  time 
had  the  reputation  of  being  sound  in  the  faith, 
eventually  either  fell  away  to  some  sect  already 
in  existence,  or  else  founded  a  heresy  of  their 
own.  An  important  fact  truly,  useful  to  be 
learnt,  and  necessary  to  be  remembered,  and 
to  be  illustrated  and  enforced  again  and  again, 
by  e.xample  upon  example,  in  order  that  all 
true  Catholics  may  understand  that  it  be- 
hoves them  with  the  Church  to  receive  Teach- 
ers, not  with  Teachers  to  desert  the  faith  of 
the  Church. 

[43.]  My  belief  is,  that  among  many 
instances  of  this  sort  of  trial  which  might  be 
produced,  there  is  not  one  to  be  compared 
with   that   of    Origen,^  in   whom   there  were 


-  Anrtelmi,  who  ascribed  the  Athanasian  Creed  to  Vincentius, 
thought  that  document  a  fulfilment  of  the  promise  here  made.  Nova 
de  Symbolo  Athanasiano  Disguisitio.  —  See  Appendix  I. 

'  Origen  was  born  of  Christian  parents,  at  Alexandria,  about  the 
year  186.  His  father,  Leonidas,  suffered  martyrdom  in  the  perse- 
cution under  Severus,  in  202  ;  and  the  family  estate  having  been  con- 
fiscated, his  mother,  with  six  younger  children,  became  dependent 
upon  him  for  her  support.  At  the  age  of  eighteen  he  was  appointed 
by  the  bishop  Demetrius  over  the  Catechetical  School  of  Alexandria, 


144 


VINCENT    OF    LERINS. 


many  things  so  excellent,  so  unique,  so 
admirable,  that  antecedently  any  one  would 
readily  deem  that  implicit  faith  was  to  be 
placed  in  all  his  assertions.  For  if  the  con- 
versation and  manner  of  life  carry  authority, 
great  was  his  industry,  great  his  modesty,  his 
patience,  his  endurance;  if  his  descent  or  his 
erudition,  what  more  noble  than  his  birth  of 
a  house  rendered  illustrious  by  martyrdom? 
Afterwards,  when  in  the  cause  of  Christ  he 
had  been  deprived  not  only  of  his  father,  but 
also  of  all  his  property,  he  attained  so  high  a 
standard  in  the  midst  of  the  straits  of  holy 
poverty,  that  he  suffered  several  times,  it  is 
said,  as  a  Confessor.  Nor  were  these  the 
only  circumstances  connected  with  him,  all  of 
which  afterwards  proved  an  occasion  of  trial. 
He  had  a  genius  so  powerful,  so  profound,  so 
acute,  so  elegant,  that  there  was  hardly  any 
one  whom  he  did  not  very  far  surpass.  The 
splendour  of  his  learning,  and  of  his  erudition 
generally,  was  such  that  there  were  few  points 
of  divine  philosophy,  hardly  any  of  human, 
which  he  did  not  thoroughly  master.  When 
Greek  had  yielded  to  his  industry,  he  made 
himself  a  proficient  in  Hebrew.  What  shall  I 
say  of  his  eloquence,  the  style  of  which  was 
so  charming,  so  soft,  so  sweet,  that  honey 
rather  than  words  seemed  to  flow  from  his 
mouth!  What  subjects  were  there,  however 
difficult,  which  he  did  not  render  clear  and  per- 
spicuous by  the  force  of  his  reasoning?  What 
undertakings,  however  hard  to  accomplish, 
which  he  did  not  make  to  appear  most  easy? 
But  perhaps  his  assertions  rested  simply  on  in- 
geniously woven  argumentation?  On  the  con- 
trary, no  teacher  ever  used  more  proofs  drawn 
from  Scripture.  Then  I  suppose  he  wrote 
little?  No  man  more,  so  that,  if  I  mistake 
not,  his  writings  not  only  cannot  all  be  read 
through,  they  cannot  all  be  found  ;^  for  that 
nothing  might  be  wanting  to  his  opportunities 
of  obtaining  knowledge,  he  had  the  additional 
advantage  of  a  life  greatly  prolonged.^  But 
perhaps  he  was  not  particularly  happy  in  his 
disciples?  Who  ever  more  so?  From  his 
school  came  forth  doctors,  priests,  confessors, 

the  duties  of  which  place  he  discharged  with  eminent  ability  and 
success.  He  remained  a  layman  till  the  age  of  forty-three,  when  he 
was  admitted  to  priest's  orders  at  Cxsarea,  greatly  to  the  displeasure 
of  Demetrius,  by  whose  hand,  according  to  the  Church's  rule,  the  office 
ought  to  liave  been  conferred,  and  he  was  in  consequence  banished 
from  Alexandria.  Returning  to  Ca^sarea,  he  taught  there  with  great 
reputation,  and  had  many  eminent  persons  among  his  disciples.  He 
sufiEered  much  in  the  Uecian  persecution  in  250,  when  he  was  thrown 
into  prison  and  subjected  to  severe  tortures.  His  works,  as  Vincen- 
tiiis  says,  were  very  numerous,  including  among  them  the  Hexapla, 
a  revised  edition  of  the  Hebrew  Scriptures  and  of  the  Septuagint  ver- 
sion, together  with  three  other  versions,  the  Hebrew  being  set  forth 
ill  both  Hebrew  and  Greek  characters.  His  writings  were  corrupted 
in  many  instances,  so  that,  as  Vincentius  says,  opinions  were  often 
imputed  to  him  which  he  would  not  have  acknowledged.  He  died  in 
his  sixty-ninth  year  at  Tyre,  and  was  buried  there. 

'  "  Quis  nostrum,"  says  St.  Jerome,  "  potest  tanta  legere  quanta 
ille  conscripsit."  — Hieron-  ad  Pam.  ei  Ocean. 

'  He  died,  as  was  said  m  the  preceding  note,  in  his  sixty-ninth 
year. 


martyrs,  without  number.^  Then  who  can 
express  how  much  he  was  admired  by  all, 
how  great  his  renown,  how  wide  his  influ- 
ence? Who  was  there  whose  religion  was  at 
all  above  the  common  standard  that  did  not 
hasten  to  him  from  the  ends  of  the  earth? 
What  Christian  did  not  reverence  him  almost 
as  a  prophet;  what  philosopher  as  a  master? 
How  great  was  the  veneration  with  which  he 
was  regarded,  not  only  by  private  persons,  but 
also  by  the  Court,  is  declared  by  the  histories 
which  relate  how  he  was  sent  for  by  the 
mother  of  the  Emperor  Alexander,"*  moved  by 
the  heavenly  wisdom  with  the  love  of  which 
she,  as  he,  was  inflamed.  To  this  also  his 
letters  bear  witness,  which,  with  the  authority 
which  he  assumed  as  a  Christian  Teacher,  he 
wrote  to  the  Emperor  Philip,^  the  first  Roman 
prince  that  was  a  Christian.  As  to  his  in- 
credible learning,  if  any  one  is  unwilling  to 
receive  the  testimony  of  Christians  at  our 
hands,  let  him  at  least  accept  that  of  heathens 
at  the  hands  of  philosophers.  For  that  im- 
pious Porphyry  says  that  when  he  was  little 
more  than  a  boy,  incited  by  his  fame,  he 
went  to  Alexandria,  and  there  saw  him,  then 
an  old  man,  but  a  man  evidently  of  so  great 
attainments,  that  he  had  reached  the  summit 
of  universal  knowledge. 

[44.]  Time  would  fail  me  to  recount,  even 
in  a  very  small  measure,  the  excellencies  of 
this  man,  all  of  which,  nevertheless,  not 
only  contributed  to  the  glory  of  religion,  but 
also  increased  the  magnitude  of  the  trial. 
For  who  in  the  world  would  lightly  desert  a 
man  of  so  great  genius,  so  great  learning,  so 
great  influence,  and  would  not  rather  adopt 
that  saying,  That  he  would  rather  be  wrong 
with  Origen,  than  be  right  with  others.® 

What  shall  I  say  more?  The  result  was 
that  very  many  were  led  astray  from  the 
integrity  of  the  faith,  not  by  any  human 
excellencies  of  this  so  great  man,  this  so 
great  doctor,  this  so  great  prophet,  but,  as 
the  event  showed,  by  the  too  perilous  trial 
which  he  proved  to  be.  Hence  it  came  to 
pass,  that  this  Origen,  such  and  so  great  as 
he  was,  wantonly  abusing  the  grace  of  God, 
rashly  following  the  bent  of  his  own  genius, 
and  placing  overmuch  confidence  in  himself, 
making  light  account  of  the  ancient  simplicity 
of  the  Christian  religion,  presuming  that  he 
knew   more   than  all   the  world  besides,  de- 


3  Among  these  were  Gregory  Thaumatureus,  Bishop  of  Neo- 
Cisarea  in  Pontus,  and  Firmilian,  Bishop  of  Csesarea  in  Cappa- 
docia. 

*  Mammea. 

"  These  are  -St.  Jerome's  words,  from  whose  book,  De  Viris  illus- 
tribus  c.  54,  Viuceiitius's  account  of  Origen  is  taken.  The  vexed 
question  of  Philip's  claim  to  be  ranked  as  a  Christian  is  discussed  by 
TiUemont.  — Histoire   des  Empereurs,  T.  iii.  pp.  494  sgg. 

<<  Errare  malo  cum  Platone  quam  cum  istis  vera  sentire.  —  Cicero, 
Titicul,  Quasi.  1. 


A   COMMONITORY. 


H5 


spising  the  traditions  of  the  Church  and  the 
determinations  of  the  ancients,  and  interpret- 
ing certain  passages  of  Scripture  in  a  novel 
way,  deserved  for  himself  the  warning  given 
to  the  Church  of  God,  as  applicable  in  his 
case  as  in  that  of  others,  "  If  there  arise  a 
prophet  in  the  midst  of  thee,"  .  .  .  "thou  shalt 
not  hearken  to  the  words  of  that  prophet," 
.  .  .  "because  the  Lord  your  God  doth  make 
trial  of  you,  whether  you  love  Him  or 
not."  ^  Truly,  thus  of  a  sudden  to  seduce  the 
Church  which  was  devoted  to  him,  and  hung 
upon  him  through  admiration  of  his  genius, 
his  learning,  his  eloquence,  his  manner  of 
life  and  influence,  while  she  had  no  fear,  no 
suspicion  for  herself,  —  thus,  I  say,  to  seduce 
the  Church,  slowly  and  little  by  little,  from 
the  old  religion  to  a  new  profaneness,  was 
not  only  a  trial,  but  a  great  trial." 

[45.]  But  some  one  will  say,  Origen's 
books  have  been  corrupted.  I  do  not  deny 
it;  nay,  I  grant  if  readily.  For  that  such  is 
the  case  has  been  handed  down  both  orally 
and  in  writing,  not  only  by  Catholics,  but  by 
heretics  as  well.  But  the  point  is,  that  though 
himself  be  not,  yet  books  published  under  his 
name  are,  a  great  trial,  which,  abounding  in 
many  hurtful  blasphemies,  are  both  read  and 
delighted  in,  not  as  being  some  one  else's, 
but  as  being  believed  to  be  his,  so  that, 
although  there  was  no  error  in  Origen's  origi- 
nal meaning,  yet  Origen's  authority  appears 
to  be  an  effectual  cause  in  leading  people  to 
embrace  error. 

CHAPTER  XVni. 

Tertullian  a  great  Trial  to  the  Church. 

[46.]  The  case  is  the  same  with  Tertullian.^ 
For  as  Origen   holds   by  far   the   first   place 

*  Deuteronomy  xiii.  i. 

2  "The  great  Origen  died  after  his  many  labors  in  peace.  His 
immediate  pupils  were  saints  and  rulers  in  the  Church.  He  has  the 
praise  of  St.  Athanasius,  St.  Basil,  and  St.  Gregory  Nazianzen,  and 
furnishes  materials  to  St.  Ambrose  and  St.  Hilary;  yet,  as  time  pro- 
ceeded, a  definite  heterodoxy  was  the  growing  result  of  his  theology, 
and  at  length,  three  hundred  years  after  his  death,  he  was  condemned, 
and,  as  has  generally  been  considered,  in  an  (Ecumenical  Council."  — 
Newman  on  Development,  p.  85,  First  Edition. 

^  Hardly  anything  is  known  of  Tertullian,  besides  what  mav  be 
gathered  from  his  works,  in  addition  to  the  following  account  given 
by  St.  Jerome  (De  Viris  Hl-ustribus),  which  I  quote  from  Bishop 
Kaye's  work  on  Tertullian  and  his  writings :  "  Tertullian,  a  pres- 
byter, the  first  Latin  writer  after  Victor  and  ApoUonius,  was  a  native 
of  the  province  of  Africa  and  city  of  Carthage,  the  son  of  a  procon- 
sular centurion.  He  was  a  man  of  a  sharp  and  vehement  temper, 
flourished  under  Severus  and  Caracalla,  and  wrote  numerous  works, 
which,  as  they  are  generally  known,  I  think  it  unnecessary  to  par- 
ticularize. I  saw  at  Concordia,  in  Italy,  an  old  man  named  Paulus, 
who  said  that,  when  young,  he  had  met  at  Rome  with  an  aged 
amanuensis  of  the  blessed  Cyprian,  who  told  him  that  Cyprian  never 
passed  a  day  without  reading  some  portion  of  Tertullian's  works,  and 
used  frequently  to  say,  '  Give  me  my  master,'  meaning  Tertullian. 
After  remainmg  a  presbyter  of  the  Church  till  he  had  attained  the 
middle  of  life,  Tertullian  was  by  the  cruel  and  contumelious  treatment 
of  the  Roman  clergy  driven  to  embrace  the  opinions  of  Montanus, 
which  he  has  mentioned  in  several  of  his  works,  under  the  title  of 
'The  New  Prophecy.'  He  is  reported  to  have  lived  to  a  very 
advanced  age."  He  was  bom  about  the  middle  of  the  second  cen- 
tury, and  flourished,  according  to  the  dates  indicated  above,  between 
the  years  190  and  216. 


among  the  Greeks,  so  does  Tertullian  among 
the  Latins.  For  who  more  learned  than  he, 
who  more  versed  in  knowledge  whether  divine 
or  human?  With  marvellous  capacity  of  mind 
he  comprehended  all  philosophy,  and  had  a 
knowledge  of  all  schools  of  philosophers,  and 
of  the  founders  and  upholders  of  schools,  and 
was  acquainted  with  all  their  rules  and  ob- 
servances, and  with  their  various  histories 
and  studies.  Was  not  his  genius  of  such  un- 
rivalled strength  and  vehemence  that  there 
was  scarcely  any  obstacle  which  he  proposed 
to  himself  to  overcome,  that  he  did  not  pene- 
trate by  acuteness,  or  crush  by  weight?  As 
to  his  style,  who  can  sufficiently  set  forth  its 
praise?  It  was  knit  together  with  so  much 
cogency  of  argument  that  it  compelled  assent, 
even  where  it  failed  to  persuade.  Every  word 
almost  was  a  sentence;  every  sentence  a  vic- 
tory. This  know  the  Marcions,  the  Apelleses, 
the  Praxeases,  the  Hermogeneses,  the  Jews, 
the  Heathens,  the  Gnostics,  and  the  rest, 
whose  blasphemies  he  overthrew  by  the  force 
of  his  many  and  ponderous  volumes,  as' with 
so  many  thunderbolts.  Yet  this  man  also, 
notwithstanding  all  that  I  have  mentioned, 
this  Tertullian,  I  say,  too  little  tenacious  of 
Catholic  doctrine,  that  is,  of  the  universal 
and  ancient  faith,  more  eloquent  by  far  than 
faithful,*  changed  his  belief,  and  justified  what 
the  blessed  Confessor,  Hilary,  writes  of  him, 
namely,  that  "by  his  subsequent  error  he 
detracted  from  the  authority  of  his  approved 
writings."^  He  also  was  a  great  trial  in  the 
Church.  But  of  Tertullian  I  am  unwilling  to 
say  more.  This  only  I  will  add,  that,  contrary 
to  the  injunction  of  Moses,  by  asserting  the 
novel  furies  of  Montanus  ®  which  arose  in  the 
Church,  and  those  mad  dreams  of  new  doc- 
trine dreamed  by  mad  women,  to  be  true 
prophecies,  he  deservedly  made  both  himself 
and  his  writings  obnoxious  to  the  words, 
"  If  there  arise  a  prophet  in  the  midst  of 
thee,".  .  .  "thou  shalt  not  hearken  to  the 
words  of  that  prophet."  For  why?  "Because 
the  Lord  your  God  doth  make  trial  of  you, 
whether  you  love  Him  or  not." 


CHAPTER   XIX. 

What  we  ought  to  learn  from  these  Examples. 

[47.]  It  behoves  us,  then,  to  give  heed  to 
these  instances  from  Church  History,  so 
many   and  so  great,  and  others  of  the  same 

*  Fidelior,  Baluz,  Felicior,  others.  »  In  Mat.  v. 

6  Montanus,  with  his  two  prophetesses,  professed  that  he  was 
intrusted  with  a  new  dispensation,  —  a  dispensation  in  advance  of 
the  Gospel,  as  the  Gospel  was  in  advance  of  the  Law.  His  system 
was  a  protest  against  the  laxity  which  had  grown  up  in  the  Church, 
as  has  repeatedly  been  the  case  after  revivals  of  religious  fervor,  veri- 
fying Tertullian's  apophthegm,  "  Christiani  fiunt,  non  nascuntur  " 
(men  become  Christians,  they  are  not  born  such).     Its  characteristics 


146 


VINCENT   OF   LERINS. 


description,  and  to  understand  distinctly, 
in  accordance  with  the  rule  laid  down  in 
Deuteronomy,  that  if  at  any  time  a  Doctor  in 
the  Church  have  erred  from  the  faith,  Divine 
Providence  permits  it  in  order  to  make  trial 
of  us,  whether  or  not  we  love  God  with  all 
our  heart  and  with  all  our  mind. 

CHAPTER   XX. 

The  Notes  of  a  true  Catholic. 

[48.]  This  being  the  case,  he  is  the  true 
and  genuine  Catholic  who  loves  the  truth  of 
God,  who  loves  the  Church,  who  loves  the 
Body  of  Christ,  who  esteems  divine  religion 
and  the  Catholic  Faith  above  every  thing, 
above  the  authority,  above  the  regard,  above 
the  genius,  above  the  eloquence,  above  the 
philosophy,  of  every  man  whatsoever;  who 
sets  light  by  all  of  these,  and  continuing 
steadfast  and  established  in  the  faith,  resolves 
that  he  will  believe  that,  and  that  only,  which 
he  is  sure  the  Catholic  Church  has  held  uni- 
versally and  from  ancient  time;  but  that  what- 
soever new  and  unheard-of  doctrine  he  shall 
find  to  have  been  furtively  introduced  by  some 
one  or  another,  besides  that  of  all,  or  contrary 
to  that  of  all  the  saints,  this,  he  will  under- 
stand, does  not  pertain  to  religion,  but  is  per- 
mitted as  a  trial,  being  instructed  especially 
by  the  words  of  the  blessed  Apostle  Paul,  who 
writes  thus  in  his  first  Epistle  to  the  Cor- 
inthians, "There  must  needs  be  heresies,  that 
they  who  are  approved  may  be  made  manifest 
among  you : "  ^  as  though  he  should  say.  This 
is  the  reason  why  the  authors  of  Heresies  are 
not  forthwith  rooted  up  by  God,  namely,  that 
they  who  are  approved  may  be  made  manifest; 
that  is,  that  it  may  be  apparent  of  each  indi- 
vidual, how  tenacious  and  faithful  and  stead- 
fast he  is  in  his  love  of  the  Catholic  faith. 

[49.]  And  in  truth,  as  each  novelty  springs 
up  incontinently  is  discerned  the  difference 
between  the  weight  of  the  wheat  and  the 
lightness  of  the  chaff.  Then  that  which  had 
no  weight  to  keep  it  on  the  floor  is  without 
difficulty  blown  away.  For  some  at  once  fly 
off  entirely;  others  having  been  only  shaken 
out,  afraid  of  perishing,  wounded,  half  alive, 
half  dead,  are  ashamed  to  return.  They  have, 
in  fact  swallowed  a  quantity  of  poison  —  not 
enough  to  kill,  yet  more  than  can  be  got  rid 
of;  it  neither  causes  death,  nor  suffers  to 
live.     O     wretched     condition!     With    what 

were  extreme  ascetism,  rigorous  fasting,  the  exaltation  of  celibacy,  the 
absolute  prohibition  of  second  marriage,  the  expectation  of  our  fiord's 
second  advent  as  near  at  hand,  the  disparagement  of  the  clergy  in 
comparison  with  its  own  Paraclete-inspired  teachers.  It  had  its  rise 
in  Phrygia,  and  from  thence  spread  throughout  Asia  Minor,  thence  it 
found  Its  way  to  Southern  Gaul,  to  Rome,  to  North  Western  Africa, 
in  which  last  for  a  time  it  had  many  followers. 
'  1  Cor.  ii.  9. 


surging  tempestuous  cares  are  they  tossed 
about!  One  while,  the  error  being  set  in 
motion,  they  are  hurried  whithersoever  the 
wind  drives  them;  another,  returning  upon 
themselves  like  refluent  waves,  they  are  dashed 
back:  one  while,  with  rash  presumption,  they 
give  their  approval  to  what  seems  uncertain ; 
another,  with  irrational  fear,  they  are  fright- 
ened out  of  their  wits  at  what  is  certain, 
in  doubt  whither  to  go,  whither  to  return, 
what  to  seek,  what  to  shun,  what  to  keep, 
what  to  throw  away. 

[50.]  This  affliction,  indeed,  of  a  hesitating 
and  miserably  vacillating  mind  is,  if  they 
are  wise,  a  medicine  intended  for  them  by 
God's  compassion.  For  therefore  it  is  that 
outside  the  most  secure  harbour  of  the  Cath- 
olic Faith,  they  are  tossed  about,  beaten,  and 
almost  killed,  by  divers  tempestuous  cogita- 
tions, in  order  that  they  may  take  in  the  sails 
of  self-conceit,  which,  they  had  with  ill 
advice  unfurled  to  the  blasts  of  novelty, 
and  may  betake  themselves  again  to,  and 
remain '  stationary  within,  the  most  secure 
harbour  of  their  placid  and  good  mother,  and 
may  begin  by  vomiting  up  those  bitter  and 
turbid  floods  of  error  which  they  had  swal- 
lowed, that  thenceforward  they  may  be  able 
to  drink  the  streams  of  fresh  and  living  water. 
Let  them  unlearn  well  what  they  had  learnt 
not  well,  and  let  them  receive  so  much  of  the 
entire  doctrine  of  the  Church  as  they  can 
understand:  what  they  cannot  understand  let 
them  believe. 

CHAPTER  XXI. 

Exposition  of  St.  Paul's  Words. —  r  Tim.  vi.  20. 

[51.]  Such  being  the  case,  when  I  think 
over  these  things,  and  revolve  them  in  my  mind 
again  and  again,  I  cannot  sufficiently  wonder 
at  the  madness  of  certain  men,  at  the  impiety 
of  their  blinded  understanding,  at  their  lust 
of  error,  such  that,  not  content  with  the  rule 
of  faith  delivered  once  for  all,  and  received 
from  the  times  of  old,  they  are  every  day 
seeking  one  novelty  after  another,  and  are 
constantly  longing  to  add,  change,  take  away, 
in  religion,  as  though  the  doctrine,  ''Let  what 
has  once  for  all  been  revealed  suffice,"  were 
not  a  heavenly  but  an  earthly  rule,  —  a  rule 
which  could  not  be  complied  with  except  by 
continual  emendation,  nay,  rather  by  con- 
tinual fault-finding;  whereas  the  divine 
Oracles  cry  aloud,  "Remove  not  the  land- 
marks, which  thy  fathers  have  set,"'  and  "Go 
not  to  law  with  a  Judge,"  ^  and  "Whoso 
breaketh  through  a  fence  a  serpent  shall  bite 
him,"*  and  that  saying  of  the  Apostle  where- 


*  Prov.  xxii.  2S. 


'  Ecclus.  viit.  14. 


*  Eccles.  X.  8, 


A   COMMONITORY. 


147 


with,  as  with  a  spiritual  sword,  all  the  wicked 
novelties  of  all  heresies  often  have  been, 
and  will  always  have  to  be,  decapitated,  "O 
Timothy,  keep  the  deposit,  shunning  pro- 
fane novelties  of  words  and  oppositions  of  the 
knowledge  falsely  so  called,  which  some  pro- 
fessing have  erred  concerning  the  faith."  •^ 

[52.]  After  words  such  as  these,  is  there 
any  one  of  so  hardened  a  front,  such  anvil- 
like impudence,  such  adamantine  pertinacity, 
as  not  to  succumb  to  so  huge  a  mass,  not  to 
be  crushed  by  so  ponderous  a  weight,  not  to  be 
shaken  in  pieces  by  such  heavy  blows,  not 
to  be  annihilated  by  such  dreadful  thunder- 
bolts of  divine  eloquence?  "Shun  profane 
novelties,"  he  says.  He  does  not  say  shun 
'"antiquity."  But  he  plainly  points  to  what 
ought  to  follow  by  the  rule  of  contrary.  For  if 
novelty  is  to  be  shunned,  antiquity  is  to  be 
held  fast;  if  novelty  is  profane,  antiquity  is 
sacred.  He  adds,  "  And  oppositions  of  science 
falsely  so  called."  "Falsely  called"  indeed, 
as  applied  to  the  doctrines  of  heretics,  where 
ignorance  is  disguised  under  the  name  of 
knowledge,  fog  of  sunshine,  darkness  of  light. 
"Which  some  professing  have  erred  concern- 
ing the  faith."  Professing  what?  What  but 
some  (I  know  not  what)  new  and  unheard-of 
doctrine.  For  thou  mayest  hear  some  of  these 
same  doctors  say,  "Come,  O  silly  wretches, 
who  go  by  the  name  of  Catholics,  come  and 
learn  the  true  faith,  which  no  one  but  our- 
selves is  acquainted  with,  which  same  has  lain 
hid  these  many  ages,  but  has  recently  been 
revealed  and  made  manifest.  But  learn  it  by 
stealth  and  in  secret,  for  you  will  be  delighted 
with  it.  Moreover,  when  you  have  learnt  it, 
teach  it  furtively,  that  the  world  may  not  hear, 
that  the  Church  may  not  know.  For  there 
are  but  few  to  whom  it  is  granted  to  receive 
the  secret  of  so  great  a  mystery."  Are  not 
these  the  words  of  that  harlot  who,  in  the 
proverbs  of  Solomon,  calls  to  the  passengers 
who  go  right  on  their  ways,  "Whoso  is 
simple  let  him  turn  in  hither."  And  as  for 
them  that  are  void  of  understanding,  she 
exhorts  them  saying:  "Drink  stolen  waters, 
for  they  are  sweet,  and  eat  bread  in  secret  for 
it  is  pleasant."  What  next?  "But  he  know- 
eth  not  that  the  sons  of  earth  perish  in  her 
house."  ^  Who  are  those  "sons  of  earth"? 
Let  the  apostle  explain:  "Those  who  have 
erred  concerning  the  faith." 

CHAPTER   XXn. 

A  more  particular  Exposition  of  i  Tim.  vi.  20. 

[53.]  But  it  is  worth  while  to  expound  the 
whole   of   that  passage    of   the    apostle  more 


L  im.  VI.  20. 


'  Prov.  ix.  16-18. 


fully,   "O  Timothy,  keep  the  deposit,  avoid- 
ing profane  novelties  of  words." 

"O!  "  The  exclamation  implies  fore-know- 
ledge as  well  as  charity.  For  he  mourned  in 
anticipation  over  the  errors  which  he  foresaw. 
Who  is  the  Timothy  of  to-day,  but  either  gener- 
ally the  Universal  Church,  or  in  particular,  the 
whole  body  of  The  Prelacy,  whom  it  behoves 
either  themselves  to  possess  or  to  communicate 
to  others  a  complete  knowledge  of  religion? 
What  is  "Keep  the  deposit"?  "Keep  it," 
because  of  thieves,  because  of  adversaries, 
lest,  while  men  sleep,  they  sow  tares  over  that 
good  wheat  which  the  Son  of  Man  had  sown 
in  his  field.  "Keep  the  deposit."  What  is 
"The  deposit"?  That  which  has  been  in- 
trusted to  thee,  not  that  which  thou  hast 
thyself  devised:  a  matter  not  of  wit,  but  of 
learning;  not  of  private  adoption,  but  of 
public  tradition;  a  matter  brought  to  thee,  not 
put  forth  by  thee,  wherein  thou  art  bound  to  be 
not  an  author  but  a  keeper,  not  a  teacher 
but  a  disciple,  not  a  leader  but  a  follower. 
"Keep  the  deposit."  Preserve  the  talent  of 
Catholic  Faith  inviolate,  unadulterate.  That 
which  has  been  intrusted  to  thee,  let  it  con- 
tinue in  thy  possession,  let  it  be  handed 
on  by  thee.  Thou  hast  received  gold;  give 
gold  in  turn.  Do  not  substitute  one  thing 
for  another.  Do  not  for  gold  impudently 
substitute  lead  or  brass.  Give  real  gold,  not 
counterfeit. 

O  Timothy!  O  Priest!  O  Expositor!  O 
Doctor!  if  the  divine  gift  hath  qualified 
thee  by  wit,  by  skill,  by  learning,  be  thou  a 
Bazaleel  of  the  spiritual  tabernacle,^  engrave 
the  precious  gems  of  divine  doctrine,  fit  them 
in  accurately,  adorn  them  skilfully,  add  splen- 
dor, grace,  beauty.  Let  that  which  formerly 
was  believed,  though  imperfectly  apprehend- 
ed, as  expounded  by  thee  be  clearly  under- 
stood. Let  posterity  welcome,  understood 
through  thy  exposition,  what  antiquity  vener- 
ated without  understanding.  Yet  teach  still 
the  same  truths  which  thou  hast  learnt,  so  that 
though  thou  speakest  after  a  new  fashion,  what 
thou  speakest  may  not  be  new. 


CHAPTER     XXHL 

On  Development  in  Religious  Knowledge. 

[54.]  But  some  one  will  say  perhaps. 
Shall  there,  then,  be  no  progress  in  Christ's 
Church?  Certainly;  all  possible  progress. 
For  what  being  is  there,  so  envious  of  men, 
so  full  of  hatred  to  God,  who  would  seek  to 
forbid  it?     Yet  on  condition  that  it   be   real 

'  Exod.  xxxi.  I,  etc. 


148 


VINCENT    OF    LERINS. 


progress,  not  alteration  of  the  faith.  For 
progress  requires  that  the  subject  be  enlarged 
in  itself,  alteration,  that  it  be  transformed 
into  something  else.  The  intelligence,  then, 
the  knowledge,  the  wisdom,  as  well  of  indi- 
viduals as  of  all,  as  well  of  one  man  as  of  the 
whole  Church,  ought,  in  the  course  of  ages 
and  centuries,  to  increase  and  make  much 
and  vigorous  progress;  but  yet  only  in  its 
own  kind ;  that  is  to  say,  in  the  same  doc- 
trine, in  the  same  sense,  and  in  the  same 
meaning. 

[55.]  The  growth  of  religion  in  the  soul 
must  be  analogous  to  the  growth  of  the  body, 
which,  though  in  process  of  years  it  is 
developed  and  attains  its  full  size,  yet 
remains  still  the  same.  There  is  a  wide  dif- 
erence  between  the  flower  of  youth  and  the 
maturity  of  age ;  yet  they  who  were  once  young 
are  still  the  same  now  that  they  have  become 
old,  insomuch  that  though  the  stature  and 
outward  form  of  the  individual  are  changed, 
yet  his  nature  is  one  and  the  same,  his  person 
is  one  and  the  same.  An  infant's  limbs  are 
small,  a  young  man's  large,  yet  the  infant 
and  the  young  man  are  the  same.  Men  when 
full  grown  have  the  same  number  of  joints 
that  they  had  when  children;  and  if  there  be 
any  to  which  maturer  age  has  given  birth, 
these  were  already  present  in  embryo,  so 
that  nothing  new  is  produced  in  them  when 
old  which  was  not  already  latent  in  them 
when  children.  This,  then,  is  undoubtedly 
the  true  and  legitimate  rule  of  progress,  this 
the  established  and  most  beautiful  order  of 
growth,  that  mature  age  ever  develops  in  the 
man  those  parts  and  forms  which  the  wisdom 
of  the  Creator  had  already  framed  beforehand 
in  the  infant.  Whereas,  if  the  human  form 
were  changed  into  some  shape  belonging  to 
another  kind,  or  at  any' rate,  if  the  number  of 
its  limbs  were  increased  or  diminished,  the 
result  would  be  that  the  whole  body  would 
become  either  a  wreck  or  a  monster,  or,  at  the 
least,  would  be  impaired  and  enfeebled. 

[56.]  In  like  manner,  it  behoves  Christian 
doctrine  to  follow  the  same  laws  of  progress, 
so  as  to  be  consolidated  by  years,  enlarged  by 
time,  refined  by  age,  and  yet,  withal,  to  con- 
tinue uncorrupt  and  unadulterate,  complete 
and  perfect  in  all  the  measurement  of  its 
parts,  and,  so  to  speak,  in  all  its  proper 
members  and  senses,  admitting  no  change,  no 
waste  of  its  distinctive  property,  no  variation 
in  its  limits. 

[57.]  For  example:  Our  forefathers  in  the 
old  time  sowed  wheat  in  the  Church's  field. 
It  would  be  most  unmeet  and  iniquitous  if 
we,  their  descendants,  instead  of  the  genuine 
truth  of  corn,  should  reap  the  counterfeit 
error   of   tares.     This   rather   should   be  the 


result,  —  there  should  be  no  discrepancy  be- 
tween the  first  and  the  last.  From  doctrine 
which  was  sown  as  wheat,  we  should  reap,  in 
the  increase,  doctrine  of  the  same  kind  — 
wheat  also;  so  that  when  in  process  of  time 
any  of  the  original  seed  is  developed,  and 
now  flourishes  under  cultivation,  no  change 
may  ensue  in  the  character  of  the  plant. 
There  may  supervene  shape,  form,  variation 
in  outward  appearance,  but  the  nature  of  each 
kind  must  remain  the  same.  God  forbid  that 
those  rose-beds  of  Catholic  interpretation 
should  be  converted  into  thorns  and  thistles. 
God  forbid  that  in  that  spiritual  paradise 
from  plants  'of  cinnamon  and  balsam  darnel 
and  wolfsbane  should  of  a  sudden  shoot 
forth. 

Therefore,  whatever  has  been  sown  by  the 
fidelity  of  the  Fathers  in  this  husbandry  of 
God's  Church,  the  same  ought  to  be  culti- 
vated and  taken  care  of  by  the  industry  of 
their  children,  the  same  ought  to  flourish  and 
ripen,  the  same  ought  to  advance  and  go  for- 
ward to  perfection.  For  it  is  right  that  those 
ancient  doctrines  of  heavenly  philosophy 
should,  as  time  goes  on,  be  cared  for, 
smoothed,  polished;  but  not  that  they  should 
be  changed,  not  that  they  should  be  maimed, 
not  that  they  should  be  mutilated.  They 
may  receive  proof,  illustration,  definiteness; 
but  they  must  retain  withal  their  complete- 
ness, their  integrity,  their  characteristic 
properties. 

[58.]  For  if  once  this  license  of  impious 
fraud  be  admitted,  I  dread  to  say  in  how 
great  danger  religion  will  be  of  being  utterly 
destroyed  and  annihilated.  For  if  any  one 
part  of  Catholic  truth  be  given  up,  another, 
and  another,  and  another  will  thenceforward 
be  given  up  as  a  matter  of  course,  and  the 
several  individual  portions  having  been 
rejected,  what  will  follow  in  the  end  but  the 
rejection  of  the  whole?  On  the  other  hand, 
if  what  is  new  begins  to  be  mingled  with 
what  is  old,  foreign  with  domestic,  profane 
with  sacred,  the  custom  will  of  necessity 
creep  on  universally,  till  at  last  the  Church 
will  have  nothing  left  untampered  with, 
nothing  unadulterated,  nothing  sound,  nothing 
pure ;  but  where  formerly  there  was  a  sanctuary 
of  chaste  and  undefiled  truth,  thenceforward 
there  will  be  a  brothel  of  impious  and  base 
errors.  May  God's  mercy  avert  this  wicked- 
ness from  the  minds  of  his  servants;  be  it 
rather  the  frenzy  of  the  ungodly. 

[59.]  But  the  Church  of  Christ,  the  careful 
and  watchful  guardian  of  the  doctrines  depos- 
ited in  her  charge,  never  changes  anything 
in  them,  never  diminishes,  never  adds,  does 
not  cut  off  what  is  necessary,  does  not  add 
what  is  superfluous,  does  not  lose  her  own, 


A    COMMONITORY. 


149 


does  not  appropriate  what  is  another's,  but 
while  dealing  faithfully  and  judiciously  with 
ancient  doctrine,  keeps  this  one  object  care- 
fully in  view.  —  if  there  be  anything  which 
antiquity  has  left  shapeless  and  rudimentary, 
to  fashion  and  polish  it,  if  anything  already 
reduced  to  shape  and  developed,  to  consoli- 
date and  strengthen  it,  if  any  already  ratified 
and  defined  to  keep  and  guard  it.  Finally, 
what  other  object  have  Councils  ever  aimed  at 
in  their  decrees,  than  to  provide  that  what 
was  before  believed  in  simplicity  should  in 
future  be  believed  intelligently,  that  what  was 
before  preached  coldly  should  in  future  be 
preached  earnestly,  that  what  was  before  prac- 
tised negligently  should  thenceforward  be 
practised  with  double  solicitude?  This,  I  say, 
is  what  the  Catholic  Church,  roused  by  the 
novelties  of  heretics,  has  accomplished  by  the 
decrees  of  her  Councils, — this,  and  nothing 
else,  —  she  has  thenceforward  consigned  to 
posterity  in  writing  what  she  had  received 
from  those  of  olden  times  only  by  tradition, 
comprising  a  great  amount  of  matter  in  a  few 
words,  and  often,  for  the  better  understanding, 
designating  an  old  article  of  the  faith  by  the 
characteristic  of  a  new  name.^ 


CHAPTER   XXIV. 

Continuation  of  the  Exposition  of  i  Tim.  vi.  20. 

[60.]  But  let  us  return  to  the  apostle. 
"O  Timothy,"  he  says,  "Guard  the  deposit, 
shunning  profane  novelties  of  words." 
"  Shun  them  as  you  would  a  viper,  as  you 
would  a  scorpion,  as  you  would  a  basilisk,  lest 
they  smite  you  not  only  with  their  touch,  but 
even  with  their  eyes  and  breath. "  What  is  "  to 
shun  "  .''  Not  even  to  eat '  with  a  person  of  this 
sort.  What  is  "  shun  "  ?  "  If  anyone,"  says  St. 
John,  "come  to  you  and  bring  not  this  doc- 
trine." What  doctrine?  What  but  the  Catholic 
and  universal  doctrine,  which  has  continued 
one  and  the  same  through  the  several  succes- 
sions of  ages  by  the  uncorrupt  tradition  of 
the  truth,  and  so  will  continue  for  ever —  "  Re- 
ceive him  not  into  your  house,  neither  bid  him 
Godspeed,  for  he  that  biddeth  him  Godspeed 
communicates  with  him  in  his  evil  deeds."  ^ 

[61.]  "Profane  novelties  of  words." 
What  words  are  these?  Such  as  have  noth- 
ing sacred,  nothing  religious,  words  utterly 
remote  from  the  inmost  sanctuary  of  the 
Church,  which  is  the  temple  of  God.  "Pro- 
fane novelties  of  words,"  that  is,  of  doctrines, 


^  For  instance,  the  proper  Deity  of  our  Blessed  Lord  by  the 
word  "  Homousios,"  consubstantial,  of  one  substance,  essence, 
nature. 

*  Cor.  V.  II. 

'  2  John  10. 


subjects,  opinions,  such  as  are  contrary  to 
antiquity  and  the  faith  of  the  olden  time. 
Which  if  they  be  received,  it  follows  neces- 
sarily that  the  faith  of  the  blessed  fathers  is 
violated  either  in  whole,  or  at  all  events  in 
great  part;  it  follows  necessarily  that  all  the 
faithful  of  all  ages,  all  the  saints,  the  chaste, 
the  continent,  the  virgins,  all  the  clergy. 
Deacons  and  Priests,  so  many  thousands 
of  Confessors,  so  vast  an  army  of  martyrs, 
such  multitudes  of  cities  and  of  peoples,  so 
many  islands,  provinces,  kings,  tribes,  king- 
doms, nations,  in  a  word,  almost  the  whole 
earth,  incorporated  in  Christ  the  Head, 
through  the  Catholic  faith,  have  been  ignorant 
for  so  long  a  tract  of  time,  have  been  mis- 
taken, have  blasphemed,  have  not  known  what 
to  believe,  what  to  confess. 

[62.]  "Shun  profane  novelties  of  words," 
which  to  receive  and  follow  was  never  the 
part  of  Catholics;  of  heretics  always  was. 
In  sooth,  what  heresy  ever  burst  forth  save 
under  a  definite  name,  at  a  definite  place,  at 
a  definite  time?  Who  ever  originated  a  heresy 
that  did  not  first  dissever  himself  from  the 
consentient  agreement  of  the  universality  and 
antiquity  of  the  Catholic  Church?  That  this 
is  so  is  demonstrated  in  the  clearest  way  by 
examples.  For  who  ever  before  that  profane 
Pelagius  ^  attributed  so  much  antecedent 
strength  to  Free-will,  as  to  deny  the  necessity 
of  God's  grace  to  aid  it  towards  good  in  every 

*  Pelagius,  a  monk,  a  Briton  by  birth,  but  resident  in  Rome, 
where  by  the  strictness  of  his  life  he  had  acquired  a  high  reputation 
for  sanctity,  was  led,  partly  perhaps  by  opposition  to  St.  Augustine's 
teaching  on  the  subject  of  election  and  predestination,  partly  by 
indignation  at  the  laxity  of  professing  Christians,  wlio  pleaded,  in 
excuse  for  their  low  standard,  the  weakness  of  human  nature,  to 
insist  upon  man's  natural  power,  and  to  deny  his  need  of  divine  grace. 

Pelagius  was  joined  by  another  monk,  Ccelestius,  a  younger  man, 
with  whom  about  the  year  410,  the  year  in  which  I^ome  was  taken 
by  the  Goths,  he  began  to  teach  openly  and  in  public  what  before  he 
had  held  and  taught  in  private.  After  the  sack  of  Rome,  the  two 
friends  passed  over  into  Africa,  and  from  thence  Pelagius  proceeded 
to  Palestine,  where  he  was  in  two  separate  synods  acquitted  of  the 
charge  of  heresy,  which  had  been  brought  against  him  by  Orosius,  a 
Spanish  monk,  whom  Augustine  had  sent  for  that  purpose.  But  in 
416,  two  African  synods  condemned  his  doctrine,  and  Zosimus, 
bishop  of  Rome,  whom  he  had  appealed  to,  though  he  had  set  aside 
their  decision,  was  eventually  obliged  to  yield  to  the  firmness  with 
which  they  held  their  ground,  and  not  only  to  condemn  Pelagius, 
but  to  take  stringent  measures  against  his  adherents.  "  In  41S,  an- 
other African  synod  of  two  hundred  and  fourteen  bishops  passed  nine 
canons,  which  were  afterwards  generally  accepted  throughout  the 
Church,  and  came  to  be  regarded  as  the  most  important  bulwark 
against  Pelagianism."  The  heresy  was  formally  condemned,  in  431, 
by  the  General  Council  of  Ephesus.     Canons  2  and  4. 

The  Pelagians  denied  the  corruption  of  man's  nature,  and  the 
necessity  of  divine  grace.  They  held  that  infants  new-born  are  in 
the  same  state  in  which  Adam  was  before  his  fall ;  that  Adam's 
sin  injured  no  one  but  himself,  and  affected  his  posterity  no  other 
wise  than  by  the  evil  example  which  it  afforded;  they  held  also  that 
men  may  live  without  sin  if  they  will,  and  that  some  have  so  lived. 

Those  who  were  afterwards  called  semi-Pelagians  (they  belonged 
chiefly  to  the  churches  of  Southern  Gaul)  were  orthodox  except  in 
one  particular  :  In  their  anxiety  to  justify,  as  they  thought,  Gpd's 
dealings  with  man,  they  held  that  the  first  step  in  the  way  of  salva- 
tion must  be  from  ourselves :  we  must  ask  that  we  may  receive,  seek 
that  we  may  find,  knock  that  it  may  be  opened  to  us;  thenceforward 
in  every  stage  of  the  road,  our  strenuous  efforts  must  be  aided  by 
divine  grace.  They  did  not  understand,  or  did  not  grant,  that  to  that 
same  grace  must  be  referred  even  the  disposition  to  ask,  to  seek,  to 
knock.     See  Prosper's  letter  to  Augustine,  August.  Opera,  Tom.  x. 

The  semi-Pelagian  doctrine  was  condemned  in  the  second  Council 
of  Orange  (a.d.  529),  the  third  and  fifth  canons  of  which  are  directed 
against  it. 


I50 


VINCENT   OF   LfiRINS. 


single  act?  Who  ever  before  his  monstrous 
disciple  Coelestius  denied  that  the  whole 
human  race  is  involved  in  the  guilt  of  Adam's 
sin?  Who  ever  before  sacrilegious  Arius 
dared  to  rend  asunder  the  unity  of  the 
Trinity?  Who  before  impious  Sabellius  was 
so  audacious  as  to  confound  the  Trinity  of 
the  Unity?  Who  before  cruellest  Novatian 
represented  God  as  cruel  in  that  He  had 
rather  the  wicked  should  die  than  that  he 
should  be  converted  and  live?  Who  before 
Simon  Magus,  who  was  smitten  by  the  apos- 
tle's rebuke,  and  from  whom  that  ancient  sink 
of  every  thing  vile  has  flowed  by  a  secret  con- 
tinuous succession  even  to  Priscillian  of  our 
own  time,  —  who,  I  say,  before  this  Simon 
Magus,  dared  to  say  that  God,  the  Creator, 
is  the  author  of  evil,  that  is,  of  our  wicked- 
nesses, impieties,  flagitiousnesses,  inasmuch  as 
he  asserts  that  He  created  with  His  own  hands 
a  human  nature  of  such  a  description,  that  of 
its  own  motion,  and  by  the  impulse  of  its 
necessity-constrained  will,  it  can  do  nothing 
else,  can  wdll  nothing  else,  but  sin,  seeing 
that  tossed  to  and  fro,  and  set  on  fire  by 
the  furies  of  all  sorts  of  vices,  it  is  hurried 
away  by  unquenchable  lust  into  the  utmost 
extremes  of  baseness  ? 

[63.]  There  are  innumerable  instances  of 
this  kind,  which  for  brevity's  sake,  pass  over; 
by  all  of  which,  however,  it  is  manifestly 
and  clearly  shown,  that  it  is  an  established 
law,  in  the  case  of  almost  all  heresies, 
that  they  evermore  delight  in  profane  novel- 
ties, scorn  the  decisions  of  antiquity,  and, 
through  oppositions  of  science  falsely  so 
called,  make  shipwreck  of  the  faith.  On  the 
other  hand,  it  is  the  sure  characteristic  of 
Catholics  to  keep  that  which  has  been  com- 
mitted to  their  trust  by  the  holy  Fathers,  to  con- 
demn profane  novelties,  and,  in  the  apostle's 
words,  once  and  again  repeated,  to  anathema- 
tize every  one  who  preaches  any  other  doctrine 
than  that  which  has  been  received.-' 


CHAPTER  XXV. 

Heretics    appeal   to   Scripture  that    they   may   more    easily 
succeed  in  deceiving. 

[64.]  Here,  possibly,  some  one  may  ask, 
Do  heretics  also  appeal  to  Scripture?  They 
do  indeed,  and  with  a  vengeance ;  for  you  may 
see  them  scamper  through  every  single  book 
of  Holy  Scripture,  —  through  the  books  of 
Moses,  the  books  of  Kings,  the  Psalms,  the 
Epistles,  the  Gospels,  the  Prophets.  Whether 
among  their  own  people,  or  among  strangers,  in 

1  Gal.  ii.  9. 


private  or  in  public,  in  speaking  or  in  writing, 
at  convivial  meetings,  or  in  the  streets,  hardly 
ever  do  they  bring  forward  anything  of  their 
own  which  they  do  not  endeavour  to  shelter 
under  words  of  Scripture.  Read  the  works  of 
Paul  of  Samosata,  of  Priscillian,  of  Eunomius, 
of  Jovinian,  and  the  rest  of  those  pests,  and 
you  will  see  an  infinite  heap  of  instances, 
hardly  a  single  page,  which  does  not  bristle 
with  plausible  quotations  from  the  New  Tes- 
ment  or  the  Old. 

[65.]  But  the  more  secretly  they  conceal 
themselves  under  shelter  of  the  Divine  Law, 
so  much  the  more  are  they  to  be  feared  and 
guarded  against.  For  they  know  that  the  evil 
stench  of  their  doctrine  will  hardly  find  accept- 
ance with  any  one  if  it  be  exhaled  pure  and 
simple.  They  sprinkle  it  over,  therefore,  with 
the  perfume  of  heavenly  language,  in  order 
that  one  who  would  be  ready  to  despise  human 
error,  may  hesitate  to  condemn  divine  words. 
They  do,  in  fact,  what  nurses  do  when  they 
would  prepare  some  bitter  draught  for  chil- 
dren; they  smear  the  edge  of  the  cup  all 
round  with  honey,  that  the  unsuspecting 
child,  having  first  tasted  the  sweet,  may  have 
no  fear  of  the  bitter.  So  too  do  these  act, 
who  disguise  poisonous  herbs  and  noxious 
juices  under  the  names  of  medicines,  so  that 
no  one  almost,  when  he  reads  the  label,  sus- 
pects the  poison. 

[66.]  It  was  for  this  reason  that  the 
Saviour  cried,  "Beware  of  false  prophets 
who  come  to  you  in  sheep's  clothing,  but 
inwardly  they  are  ravening  wolves." '■^  What 
is  meant  by  "sheep's  clothing"?  What  but 
the  words  which  prophets  and  apostles  with 
the  guilelessness  of  sheep  wove  beforehand 
as  fleeces,  for  that  immaculate  Lamb  which 
taketh  away  the  sin  of  the  world?  What  are 
the  ravening  wolves?  What  but  the  savage 
and  rabid  glosses  of  heretics,  who  continu- 
ally infest  the  Church's  folds,  and  tear  in 
pieces  the  flock  of  Christ  wherever  they  are 
able?  But  that  they  may  with  more  success- 
ful guile  steal  upon  the  unsuspecting  sheep, 
retaining  the  ferocity  of  the  wolf,  they  put  ofif 
his  appearance,  and  wrap  themselves,  so  to 
say,  in  the  language  of  the  Divine  Law,  as  in 
a  fleece,  so  that  one,  having  felt  the  softness 
of  wool,  may  have  no  dread  of  the  wolf's 
fangs.  But  what  saith  the  Saviour?  "By 
their  fruits  ye  shall  know  them;"  that  is, 
when  they  have  begun  not  only  to  quote  those 
divine  words,  but  also  to  expound  them,  not 
as  yet  only  to  make  a  boast  of  them  as  on  their 
side,  but  also  to  interpret  them,  then  will  that 
bitterness,  that  acerbity,  that  rage,  be  under- 
stood; then  will  the  ill-savour  of  that  novel 

*  Matt.  vii.  15. 


A   COMMONITORY. 


151 


poison  be  perceived,  then  will  those  profane 
novelties  be  disclosed,  then  may  you  see  first 
the  hedge  broken  through,  then  the  landmarks 
of  the  Fathers  removed,  then  the  Catholic 
faith  assailed,  then  the  doctrine  of  the  Church 
torn  in  pieces. 

[67.]  Such  were  they  whom  the  Apostle 
Paul  rebukes  in  his  Second  Epistle  to  the 
Corinthians,  when  he  says,  "  For  of  this  sort 
are  false  apostles,  deceitful  workers,  trans- 
forming themselves  into  apostles  of  Christ."  ^ 
The  apostles  brought  forward  instances  from 
Holy  Scripture;  these  men  did  the  same. 
The  apostles  cited  the  authority  of  the 
Psalms;  these  men  did  so  likewise.  The 
apostles  brought  forward  passages  from  the 
prophets;  these  men  still  did  the  same.  But 
when  they  began  to  interpret  in  different 
senses  the  passages  which  both  had  agreed 
in  appealing  to,  then  were  discerned  the 
guileless  from  the  crafty,  the  genuine  from 
the  counterfeit,  the  straight  from  the  crooked, 
then,  in  one  word,  the  true  apostles  from 
the  false  apostles.  "And  no  wonder,"  he 
says,  "for  Satan  himself  transforms  himself 
into  an  angel  of  light.  It  is  no  marvel  then 
if  his  servants  are  transformed  as  the  servants 
of  righteousness."  Therefore,  according  to 
the  authority  of  the  Apostle  Paul,  as  often  as 
either  false  apostles  or  false  teachers  cite 
passages  from  the  Divine  Law,  by  means  of 
which,  misinterpreted,  they  seek  to  prop  up 
their  own  errors,  there  is  no  doubt  that  they 
are  following  the  cunning  devices  of  their 
father,  which  assuredly  he  would  never  have 
devised,  but  that  he  knew  that  where  he 
could  fraudulently  and  by  stealth  introduce 
error,  there  is  no  easier  way  of  effecting  his 
impious  purpose  than  by  pretending  the 
authority  of  Holy  Scripture. 


CHAPTER  XXVI. 

Heretics,   in   quoting  Scripture,  follow  the   example  of   the 

Devil. 

[68.]  But  some  one  will  say,  What  proof 
have  we  that  the  Devil  is  wont  to  appeal  to 
Holy  Scripture?  Let  him  read  the  Gospels 
wherein  it  is  written,  "Then  the  Devil  took 
Him  (the  Lord  the  Saviour)  and  set  Him 
upon  a  pinnacle  of  the  Temple,  and  said  unto 
Him:  If  thou  be  the  Son  of  God,  cast  thyself 
down,  for  it  is  written,  He  shall  give  His 
angels  charge  concerning  thee,  that  they  may 
keep   thee   in   all  thy  ways:  In  their  hands 


*  3  Cor.  xi.  12 


they  shall  bear  thee  up,  lest  perchance  thou 
dash  thy  foot  against  a  stone."  ^  What  sort  of 
treatment  must  men,  insignificant  wretches  that 
they  are,  look  for  at  the  hands  of  him  who  as- 
sailed even  the  Lord  of  Glory  with  quotations 
from  Scripture?  "  If  thou  be  the  Son  of  God," 
saith  he,  "cast  thyself  down."  W^herefore? 
"For,"saith  he,  "it  is  written."  It  behoves 
us  to  pay  special  attention  to  this  passage  and 
bear  it  in  mind,  that,  warned  by  so  important 
an  instance  of  Evangelical  authority,  we  may 
be  assured  beyond  doubt,  when  we  find  peo- 
ple alleging  passages  from  the  Apostles  or 
Prophets  against  the  Catholic  Faith,  that  the 
Devil  speaks  through  their  mouths.  For  as 
then  the  Head  spoke  to  the  Head,  so  now 
also  the  members  speak  to  the  members,  the 
members  of  the  Devil  to  the  members  of 
Christ,  misbelievers  to  believers,  sacrilegious 
to  religious,  in  one  word.  Heretics  to  Catholics. 
[69.]  But  what  do  they  say?  "If  thou  be 
the  Son  of  God,  cast  thyself  down; "  that  is.  If 
thou  wouldst  be  a  son  of  God,  and  wouldst 
receive  the  inheritance  of  the  Kingdom  of 
Heaven,  cast  thyself  down;  that  is,  cast  thy- 
self down  from  the  doctrine  and  tradition  of 
that  sublime  Church,  which  is  imagined  to  be 
nothing  less  than  the  very  temple  of  God.  And 
if  one  should  ask  one  of  the  heretics  who 
gives  this  advice.  How  do  you  prove?  What 
ground  have  you,  for  saying,  that  I  ought  to 
cast  away  the  universal  and  ancient  faith  of 
the  Catholic  Church?  he  has  the  answer 
ready,  "  For  it  is  written ; "  and  forthwith  he 
produces  a  thousand  testimonies,  a  thousand 
examples,  a  thousand  authorities  from  the 
Law,  from  the  Psalms,  from  the  apostles,  from 
the  Prophets,  by  means  of  which,  interpreted 
on  a  new  and  wrong  principle,  the  unhappy 
soul  may  be  precipitated  from  the  height  of 
Catholic  truth  to  the  lowest  abyss  of  heresy. 
Then,  with  the  accompanying  promises,  the 
heretics  are  wont  marvellously  to  beguile  the 
incautious.  For  they  dare  to  teach  and 
promise,  that  in  their  church,  that  is,  in  the 
conventicle  of  their  communion,  there  is  a 
certain  great  and  special  and  altogether 
personal  grace  of  God,  so  that  whosoever 
pertain  to  their  number,  without  any  labour, 
without  any  effort,  without  any  industry,  even 
though  they  neither  ask,  nor  seek,  nor  knock, 
have  such  a  dispensation  from  God,  that, 
borne  up  by  angel  hands,  that  is,  preserved 
by  the  protection  of  angels,  it  is  impossible 
they  should  ever  dash  their  feet  against  a 
stone,  that  is,  that  they  should  ever  be 
offended.^ 


'  Matt,  iv.  5,  etc. 
»  See  Appendix  II. 


152 


VINCENT   OF   LfiRINS. 


CHAPTER   XXVII. 

What  Rule  is  to  be  observed  in  the  Interpretation  of 
Scripture. 

[70.]  But  it  will  be  said,  If  the  words,  the 
sentiments,  the  promises  of  Scripture,  are 
appealed  to  by  the  Devil  and  his  disciples,  of 
whom  some  are  false  apostles,  some  false 
prophets  and  false  teachers,  and  all  without 
exception  heretics,  what  are  Catholics  and  the 
sons  of  Mother  Church  to  do  ?  How  are  they  to 
distinguish  truth  from  falsehood  in  the  sacred 
Scriptures?  They  must  be  very  careful  to 
pursue  that  course  which,  in  the  beginning 
of  this  Commonitory,  we  said  that  holy  and 
learned  men  had  commended  to  us,  that  is 
to  sa}-,  they  must  interpret  the  sacred  Canon 
according  to  the  traditions  of  the  Universal 
Church  and  in  keeping  with  the  rules  of 
Catholic  doctrine,  in  which  Catholic  and  Uni- 
versal Church,  moreover,  they  must  follow 
universality,  antiquity,  consent.  And  if  at 
any  time  a  part  opposes  itself  to  the  whole, 
novelty  to  antiquity,  the  dissent  of  one  or  a 
few  who  are  in  error  to  the  consent  of  all  or 
at  all  events  of  the  great  majority  of  Catho- 
lics, then  they  must  prefer  the  soundness  of 
the  whole  to  the  corruption  of  a  part;  in 
which  same  whole  they  must  prefer  the 
religion  of  antiquity  to  the  profaneness  of 
novelty;  and  in  antiquity jtself  in  like  manner, 
to  the  temerity  of  one  or  of  a  very  few  they 
must  prefer,  first  of  all,  the  general  decrees, 
if  such  there  be,  of  a  Universal  Council,  or 
if  there  be  no  such,  then,  what  is  next  best, 
they  must  follow  the  consentient  belief  of 
many  and  great  masters.  Which  rule  having 
been  faithfully,  soberly,  and  scrupulously 
observed,  we  shall  with  little  difficulty 
detect  the  noxious  errors  of  heretics  as  they 
arise. 


CHAPTER  XXVIII. 

In  what  Way,  on  collating  the  consentient  opinions  of  the 
.\ncient  Masters,  the  Novelties  of  Heretics  may  be  detected 
and  condemned. 

[71.]  And  here  I  perceive  that,  as  a  neces- 
sary sequel  to  the  foregoing,  I  ought  to  show 
by  examples  in  what  way,  by  collating  the 
consentient  opinions  of  the  ancient  masters, 
the  profane  novelties  of  heretics  may  be  de- 
tected and  condemned.  Yet  in  the  investi- 
gation of  this  ancient  consent  of  the  holy 
Fathers  we  are  to  bestow  our  pains  not  on 
every  minor  question  of  the  Divine  Law,  but 
only,  at  all  events  especially,  where  the  Rule 


of  Faith  is  concerned.  Nor  is  this  way  of 
dealing  with  heresy  to  be  resorted  to  always, 
or  in  every  instance,  but  only  in  the  case  of 
those  heresies  which  are  new  and  recent,  and 
that  on  their  first  arising,  before  they  have 
had  time  to  deprave  the  Rules  of  the  Ancient 
Faith,  and  before  they  endeavour,  while  the 
poison  spreads  and  diffuses  itself,  to  corrupt 
the  writings  of  the  ancients.  But  heresies 
already  widely  diffused  and  of  old  standing  are 
by  no  means  to  be  thus  dealt  with,  seeing  that 
through  lapse  of  time  they  have  long  had 
opportunity  of  corrupting  the  truth.  And 
therefore,  as  to  the  more  ancient  schisms  or 
heresies,  we  ought  either  to  confute  them,  if 
need  be,  by  the  sole  authority  of  the  Scrip- 
tures, or  at  any  rate,  to  shun  them  as  having 
been  already  of  old  convicted  and  condemned 
by  universal  councils  of  the  Catholic  Priest- 
hood. 

[72.]  Therefore,  as  soon  as  the  corruption 
of  each  mischievous  error  begins  to  break 
forth,  and  to  defend  itself  by  filching  certain 
passages  of  Scripture,  and  expounding  them 
fraudulently  and  deceitfully,  forthwith,  the 
opinions  of  the  ancients  in  the  interpretation 
of  the  Canon  are  to  be  collected,  whereby  the 
novelty,  and.  consequently  the  profaneness, 
whatever  it  may  be,  that  arises,  may  both  with- 
out any  doubt  be  exposed,  and  without  any  ter- 
giversation be  condemned.  But  the  opinions 
of  those  Fathers  only  are  to  be  used  for  com- 
parison, who  living  and  teaching,  holily, 
wisely,  and  with  constancy,  in  the  Catholic 
faith  and  communion,  were  counted  worthy 
either  to  die  in  the  faith  of  Christ,  or  to 
suffer  death  happily  for  Christ.  Whom  yet 
we  are  to  believe  on  this  condition,  that  that 
only  is  to  be  accounted  indubitable,  certain, 
established,  which  either  all,  or  the  more  part, 
have  supported  and  confirmed  manifestly, 
frequently,  persistently,  in  one  and  the  same 
sense,  forming,  as  it  were,  a  consentient 
council  of  doctors,  all  receiving,  holding, 
handing  on  the  same  doctrine.  But  whatso- 
ever a  teacher  holds,  other  than  all,  or  con- 
trary to  all,  be  he  holy  and  learned,  be  he  a 
bishop,  be  he  a  Confessor,  be  he  a  martyr, 
let  that  be  regarded  as  a  private  fancy  of  his 
own,  and  be  separated  from  the  authority  of 
common,  public,  general  persuasion,  lest,  after 
the  sacrilegious  custom  of  heretics  and  schis- 
matics, rejecting  the  ancient  truth  of  the  uni- 
versal Creed,  we  follow,  at  the  utmost  peril 
of  our  eternal  salvation,  the  newly  devised 
error  of  one  man. 

[73.]  Lest  any  one  perchance  should 
rashly  think  the  holy  and  Catholic  consent 
of  these  blessed  fathers  to  be  despised, 
the  Apostle  says,  in  the  First  Epistle  to  the 
Corinthians,  ''God  hath  placed  some   in  the 


A   COMMONITORY. 


153 


Church,  first  Apostles,"  ^of  whom  himself  was 
one;  "secondly  Prophets,"  such  as  Agabus, 
of  whom  we  read  in  the  Acts  of  the  Apostles ;  - 
"then  doctors,"  who  are  now  called  Hom- 
ilists.  Expositors,^  whom  the  same  apostle 
sorrretimes  calls  also  "Prophets,"  because  by 
them  the  mysteries  of  the  Prophets  are  opened 
to  the  people.  Whosoever,  therefore,  shall 
despise  these,  who  had  their  appointment  of 
God  in  His  Church  in  their  several  times 
and  places,  when  they  are  unanimous  in 
Christ,  in  the  interpretation  of  some  one 
point  of  Catholic  doctrine,  despises  not  man, 
but  God,  from  whose  unity  in  the  truth, 
lest  any  one  should  vary,  the  same  Apostle 
earnestly  protests,  "  I  beseech  you,  brethren, 
that  ye  all  speak  the  same  thing,  and  that 
there  be  no  divisions  among  you,  but  that  ye 
be  perfectly  joined  together  in  the  same  mind 
and  in  the  same  judgment."*  But  if  any  one 
dissent  from  their  unanimous  decision,  let 
him  listen  to  the  words  of  the  same  apostle," 
"God  is  not  the  God  of  dissension  but  of 
peace ; "  ^  that  is,  not  of  him  who  departs 
from  the  unity  of  consent,  but  of  those  who 
remain  steadfast  in  the  peace  of  consent; 
"as,"  he  continues,  "I  teach  in  all  Churches 
of  the  saints,"  that  is,  of  Catholics,  which 
churches  are  therefore  churches  of  the  saints, 
because  they  continue  steadfast  in  the  com- 
munion of  the  faith. 

[74.]  And  lest  any  one,  disregarding  every 
one  else,  should  arrogantly  claim  to  be  lis- 
tened to  himself  alone,  himself  alone  to  be 
believed,  the  Apostle  goes  on  to  say,  "Did  the 
word  of  God  proceed  from  you,  or  did  it 
come  to  you  only?  "  And,  lest  this  should  be 
thought  lightly  spoken,  he  continues,  "If  any 
man  seem  to  be  a  prophet  or  a  spiritual  person, 
let  him  acknowledge  that  the  things  which  I 
write  unto  you  are  the  Lord's  commands." 
As  to  which,  unless  a  man  be  a  prophet  or  a 
spiritual  person,  that  is,  a  master  in  spiritual 
matters,  let  him  be  as  observant  as  possible 
of  impartiality  and  unity,  so  as  neither  to 
prefer  his  own  opinions  to  those  of  every  one 
besides,  nor  to  recede  from  the  belief  of 
the  whole  body.  Which  injunction,  whoso 
ignores,  shall  be  himself  ignored;**  that  is, 
he  who  either  does  not  learn  what  he  does 
not  know,  or  treats  with  contempt  what  he 
knows,  shall  be  ignored,  that  is,  shall  be 
deemed  unworthy  to  be  ranked  of  God  with 
those  who  are  united  to  each  other  by  faith, 
and  equalled  with  each  other  by  humility, 
than  which  I  cannot  imagine  a  more  terrible 
evil.     This  it  is  however  which,  according  to 


1  1  Cor.  xii.  27,  28.  '  Acts  xi.  28. 

^  "  Tractatores."     St.   Augustine's  Expositor)'  Lectures  on   St. 
John's  Gosj)el  are  entitled  "  Tractatus." 

*  I  Cor.  i.  10.  ^  I  Cor.  xiv.  33.  •  i  Cor.  xiv.  33. 


the  Apostle's  threatening,  we  see  to  have 
befallen  Julian  the  Pelagian,''  who  either  neg- 
lected to  associate  himself  with  the  belief 
of  his  fellow  Christians,  or  presumed  to  dis- 
sociate himself  from  it. 

[75.]  But  it  is  now  time  to  bring  forward  the 
exemplification  which  we  promised,  where  and 
how  the  sentences  of  the  holy  Fathers  have 
been  collected  together,  so  that  in  accordance 
with  them,  by  the  decree  and  authority  of  a 
council,  the  rule  of  the  Church's  faith  may  be 
settled.  Which  that  it  may  be  done  the  more 
conveniently,  let  this  present  Commonitory  end 
here,  so 'that  the  remainder  which  is  to  follow 
may  be  begun  from  a  fresh  beginning. 

[The  Second  Book  of  the  Commonitory  is  lost.  Noth- 
ing of  it  remains  but  the  conclusion  :  in  other  words, 
the  recapitulation  which  follows-] 


CHAPTER  XXIX. 

Recapitulation. 

[76.]  This  being  the  case,  it  is  now  time 
that  we  should  recapitulate,  at  the  close  of 
this  second  Commonitory,  what  was  said  in 
that  and  in  tlie  preceding. 

We  said  above,  that  it  has  always  been  the 
custom  of  Catholics,  and  still  is,  to  prove 
the  true  faith  in  these  two  ways ;  first  by  the 
authority  of  the  Divine  Canon,  and  next  by 
the  tradition  of  the  Catholic  Chnrch.  Not 
that  the  Canon  alone  does  not  of  itself  suffice 
for  every  question,  but  seeing  that  the  more 
part,  interpreting  the  divine  words  according 
to  their  own  persuasion,  take  up  various  erro- 
neous opinions,  it  is  therefore  necessary  that 
the  interpretation  of  divine  Scripture  should 
be  ruled  according  to  the  one  standard  of 
the  Church's  belief,  especially  in  those  arti- 
cles on  which  the  foundations  of  all  Catholic 
doctrine  rest. 

[77.]  We  said  likewise,  that  in  the  Church 
itself  regard  must  be  had  to  the  consentient 
voice  of  universality  equally  with  that  of 
antiquity,  lest  we  either  be  torn  from  the 
integrity  of  unity  and  carried  away  to  schism, 
or  be  precipitated  from  the  religion  of  an- 
tiquity into  heretical  novelties.  We  said, 
further,  that  in  this  same  ecclesiastical 
antiquity  two  points  are  very  carefully  and 
earnestly  to  be   held   in  view  by  those  who 


'  Julian,  bishop  of  Eclanum,  a  small  town  in  Apulia  or  Campania, 
was  one  of  nineteen  bishops,  who,  liaving  espoused  the  cause  of 
Pelagius,  and  having  refused  to  subscribe  a  circular  letter  issued  by 
Zosimus,  now  adopUng  the  decisions  of  the  African  Council  (see 
above  note  p.  147)  were  deposed  and  banished.  St.  Augustine  at  his 
death  left  a  work  against  Juhan  unfinished,  "  0/«j  imper/ectum 
contra  Julianum,''^  in  which  he  had  been  engaged  till  the  sickness 
of  which  he  died  put  an  end  to  his  labours. 


^54 


VINCENT   OF    LERINS. 


would  keep  clear  of  heresy:  first,  they  should 
ascertain  whether  any  decision  has  been 
given  in  ancient  times  as  to  the  matter  in 
question  by  the  whole  priesthood  of  the 
Catholic  Church,  with  the  authority  of  a 
General  Council:  and,  secondly,  if  some  new 
question  should  arise  on  which  no  such  de- 
cision has  been  given,  they  should  then  have 
recourse  to  the  opinions  of  the  holy  Fathers, 
of  those  at  least,  who,  each,  in  his  own  time 
and  place,  remaining  in  the  unity  of  com- 
munion and  of  the  faith,  were  accepted  as 
approved  masters;  and  whatsoever  these  may 
be  found  to  have  held,  with  one  mind  and  with 
one  consent,  this  ought  to  be  accounted  the 
true  and  Catholic  doctrine  of  the  Church, 
without  any  doubt  or  scruple. 

[78.]    Which  lest  we  should  seem  to  allege 
presumptuously  on  our   own    warrant   rather 
than    on    the    authority   of    the     Church,    we 
appealed  to  the  example  of  the  holy  council 
which    some   three    years    ago   was    held    at 
Ephesus  ^  in  Asia,  in  the  consulship  of  Bassus 
and    Antiochus,    where,    when    question    was 
raised  as  to  the  authoritative  determining  of 
rules  of   faith,    lest,   perchance,    any   profane 
novelty  should  creep  in,  as  did  the  perversion 
of   the  truth  at  Ariminum,'^  the  whole   body 
of  priests  there    assembled,   nearly  two  hun- 
dred   in    number,    approved    of    this    as   the 
most  Catholic,  the  most  trustworthy,  and  the 
best  course,  viz.,  to  bring  forth  into  the  midst 
the  sentiments  of  the  holy  Fathers,   some  of 
whom  it  was  well  known  had  been    martyrs, 
some  Confessors,  but  all  had  been,  and  con- 
tinued to  the  end  to  be.  Catholic   priests,  in 
order   that   by   their   consentient     determina- 
tion the  reverence  due  to  ancient  truth  might 
be    duly   and    solemnly   confirmed,    and    the 
blasphemy    of    profane    novelty    condemned. 
Which  having  been  done,  that  impious  Nes- 
torius  was   lawfully  and  deservedly  adjudged 
to  be  opposed  to  Catholic  antiquity,  and  con- 
trariwise  blessed   Cyril   to   be    in   agreement 
with  it.      And  that  nothing  might  be  wanting 
to  the  credibility  of  the  matter,  we  recorded  the 
names  and  the  number   (though  we  had  for- 
gotten  the   order)   of  the  Fathers,    according 
to  whose   consentient    and   unanimous    judg- 
ment, both  the  sacred  preliminaries   of   judi- 
cial procedure  were  expounded,  and  the  rule 
of  divine  truth  established.      Whom,  that  we 
may  strengthen  our    memory,    it  will    be    no 
superfluous    labour    to    mention    again    here 
also. 


■  The  Council  of  Ephesus,  summoned  by  the  Emperor  Theodo- 
sius  to  meet  at  Whitsuntide,  431  (June  7),  held  its  first  sitting  on 
June  22,  in  the  Church  of  St.  Mary,  where  the  blessed  Virgin  was 
believed  to  have  been  buried. 

*  See  note  above,  p.  131,  n.  3. 


CHAPTR.  XXX. 

The  Council  of  Ephesus. 

[79.]  These  then  are  the  men  whose  writ- 
ings, whether  as  judges  or  as  witnesses,  were 
recited  in  the  Council:  St.  Peter,  bishop  of 
Alexandria,  a  most  excellent  Doctor  and  most 
blessed  martyr,  Saint  Athanasius,  bishop  of 
the  same  city,  a  most  faithful  Teacher,  and 
most  eminent  Confessor,  Saint  Theophilus, 
also  bishop  of  the  same  city,  a  man  illus- 
trious for  his  faith,  his  life,  his  knowl- 
edge, whose  successor,  the  revered  Cyril, 
now  ^  adorns  the  Alexandrian  Church.  And 
lest  perchance  the  doctrine  ratified  by  the 
Council  should  be  thought  peculiar  to  one 
city  and  province,  there  were  added  also 
those  lights  of  Cappadocia,  St.  Gregory  of 
Nazianzus,  bishop  and  Confessor,  St.  Basil 
of  Caesarea  in  Cappadocia,  bishop  and  Con- 
fessor, and  the  other  St.  Gregory,  St.  Gregory 
of  Nyssa,  for  his  faith,  his  conversation, 
his  integrity,  and  his  wisdom,  most  worthy 
to  be  the  brother  of  Basil.  And  lest  Greece 
or  the  East  should  seem  to  stand  alone,  to 
prove  that  the  Western  and  Latin  world 
also  have  always  held  the  same  belief,  there 
were  read  in  the  Council  certain  Epistles 
of  St.  Felix,  martyr,  and  St.  Julius,  both 
bishops  of  Rome.  And  that  not  only  the 
Head,  but  the  other  parts,  of  the  world  also 
might  bear  witness  to  the  judgment  of  the 
council,  there  was  added  from  the  South  the 
most  blessed  Cyprian,  bishop  of  Carthage  and 
martyr,  and  from  the  North  St.  Ambrose, 
bishop  of  Milan. 

[80.]    These  all    then,   to  the  sacred  num- 
ber of  the  decalogue,^  were  produced  at  Eph- 


3  This  marks  Vincentiiis's  date  within  very  narrow  limits,  viz. 
after  the  Council  of  Ephesus,  and  before  Cyril's  death.     Cyril  died 

in  444- 

*  Vincentius's  copy  of  the  acts  of  the  Council  appears  to  have  con- 
tained extracts  from  no  more  than  ten  Fathers.  But  the  Fathers 
from  whose  writings  extracts  were  read  were  twelve  in  number ;  the 
two  omitted  by  Vincentius  being  Atticus,  bishop  of  Constantinople, 
and  Amphilochius,  bishop  of  Iconium.  In  Labbe's  ConctVia,  where 
the  wliole  are  given,  it  is  remarked  that  in  one  manuscript  the  two 
last  mentioned  occupy  a  different  place  from  the  others. 

Dean  Milman  (Latin  Christiaiiity,  vol.  i,  p.  164)  speaks  of  the 
passages  read,  "  as  of  verj'  doubtful  bearing  on  the  question  raised  by 
Nestorius."  It  is  true  only  two,  those  from  Athanasius  and  Gregory 
Nazianzen,  contain  the  crucial  term  "  Theotocos  "  but  all  express  the 
truth  which  "  Theotocos  "  symbolizes.  That  the  word  was  not  of 
recent  introduction.  Bishop  Pearson  {Creed,  Art.  3)  shows  by  quota- 
tions from  other  writers  besides  those  produced  at  the  Council,  going 
back  as  far  as  to  Origen. 

The  Fathers  cited  may  certainly  be  said  to  fulfil  to  some  extent 
Vincentius's  requirement  of  universality.  They  represent  the  teach- 
ing of  Alexandria,  Rome,  Carthage,  Milan,  Constantinople,  .and  Asia 
Minor;  but  his  appeal  would  hare  been  more  tf>  his  purpose  if  antiq- 
uity had  been  more  expressly  represented.  With  the  exception  of 
Cyprian,  all  the  passages  cited  were  from  writers  of  comparatively 
recent  date  at  the  time,  though,  as  Vincentius  truly  remarks,  others 
might  have  been  produced. 

Petavius  (De  Incam.  1.  xiv.  c.  15),  in  defending  the  cullus  of  the 
blessed  Virgin  and  of  the  saints  generally,  lays  much  stress  on  this 
omission  of  citations  from  earlier  Fathers  at  the  Council,  as  he  does 
also  on  similar  omissions  in  the  case  of  the  fourth,  fifth,  and  sixth 


A   COMMONITORY. 


155 


esus  as  doctors,  councillors,  witnesses,  judges. 
And  that  blessed  council  holding  their  doc- 
trine, following  their  counsel,  believing  their 
witness,  submitting  to  their  judgment  without 
haste,  without  foregone  conclusion,  without 
partiality,  gave  their  determination  concerning 
the  Rules  of  Faith.  A  much  greater  number 
of  the  ancients  might  have  been  adduced;  but 
it  was  needless,  because  neither  was  it  fit  that 
the  time  should  be  occupied  by  a  multitude  of 
witnesses,  nor  does  any  one  suppose  that  those 
ten  were  really  of  a  different  mind  from  the 
rest  of  their  colleagues. 


CHAPTER   XXXI. 

The   Constancy   of   the   Ephesine   Fathers   in   driving   away 
Novelty  and  maintaining  Antiquity. 

[81.]  After  the  preceding  we  added  also 
the  sentence  of  blessed  Cyril,  which  is  con- 
tained in  these  same  Ecclesiastical  Proceed- 
ings. For  when  the  Epistle  of  Capreolus,^ 
bishop  of  Carthage,  had  been  read,  wherein  he 
earnestly  intreats  that  novelty  may  be  driven 
away  and  antiquity  maintained,  Cyril  made 
and  carried  the  proposal,  which  it  may  not  be 
out  of  place  to  insert  here :  For  says  he,  at  the 
close  of  the  proceedings,  "  Let  the  Epistle  of 
Capreolus  also,  the  reverend  and  very  reli- 
gious bishop  of  Carthage,  which  has  been  read, 
be  inserted  in  the  acts.  His  mind  is  obvi- 
ous, for  he  intreats  that  the  doctrines  of  the 
ancient  faith  be  confirmed,  such  as  are 
novel,  wantonly  devised,  and  impiously  pro- 
mulgated, reprobated  and  condemned."  All 
the  bishops  cried  out,  '"These  are  the  words 
of  all;  this  we  all  say,  this  we  all  desire." 
What  mean  "the  words  of  all,"  what  mean 
"the  desires  of  all,"  but  that  what  has 
been  handed  down  from  antiquity  should  be 
retained,  what  has  been  newly  devised,  re- 
jected with  disdain? 

[82.]  Next  we  expressed  our  admiration  of 
the  humility  and   sanctity  of    that    Council, 


Councils,  with  what  object  is  sufficiently  obvious.  Bishop  Pull 
points  out  Petavius's  disposition  to  disparage  or  misrepresent  the 
teaching  of  the  earlier  Fathers,  in  another  and  still  more  important 
instance.     (Defetis.  Fid.  Nic.')  Introd.  §  8. 

1  The  letter  of  Capreolus  is  given  in  Labbe's  Concilia, yo\.  3,  col. 
529  sqq.  The  Emperor  Theodosius  had  written  to  Augustine,  requir- 
mg  his  presence  at  the  Council  which  he  had  summoned  to  meet  at 
Ephesus  in  the  matter  of  Nestorius.  But  Augustine  having  died 
while  the  letter  was  on  its  way,  it  was  brought  to  Capreolus,  bishop 
of  Carthage  and  Metropolitan.  Capreolus  would  have  summoned  a 
meeting  of  the  African  bishops,  that  they  might  appoint  a  delegate  to 
represent  them  at  the  Council ;  but  the  presence  of  the  hostile  Van- 
dals, who  were  laying  waste  the  country  in  all  directions,  made  it 
impossible  for  the  bishops  to  travel  to  any  place  of  meeting.  Cap- 
reolus therefore  could  do  no  more  than  send  his  deacon  Besula  to 
represent  him  and  the  African  Church,  bearing  with  him  the  letter 
referred  to  in  the  text.  The  letter,  after  having  been  read  before  the 
Council,  both  in  the  original  Latin  and  in  a  Greek  translation,  was 
on  the  motion  of  Cyril,  inserted  in  the  acts. 


such  that,  though  the  number  of  priests  was 
so  great,  almost  the  more  part  of  them  metro- 
politans, so  erudite,  so  learned,  that  almost 
all  were  capable  of  taking  part  in  doctrinal 
discussions,  whom  the  very  circumstance  of 
their  being  assembled  for  the  purpose,  might 
seem  to  embolden  to  make  some  determi- 
nation on  their  own  authority,  yet  they  inno- 
vated nothing,  presumed  nothing,  arrogated 
to  themselves  absolutely  nothing,  but  used 
all  possible  care  to  hand  down  nothing  to 
posterity  but  what  they  had  themselves  re- 
ceived from  their  Fathers.  And  not  only 
did  they  dispose  satisfactorily  of  the  matter 
presently  in  hand,  but  they  also  set  an  ex- 
ample to  those  who  should  come  after  them, 
how  they  also  should  adhere  to  the  determi- 
nations of  sacred  antiquity,  and  condemn  the 
devices  of  profane  novelty. 

[83.]  We  inveighed  also  against  the  wicked 
presumption  of  Nestorius  in  boasting  that 
he  was  the  first  and  the  only  one  who  under- 
stood holy  Scripture,  and  that  all  those 
teachers  were  ignorant,  who  before  him  had 
expounded  the  sacred  oracles,  forsooth,  the 
whole  body  of  priests,  the  whole  body  of  Con- 
fessors and  martyrs,  of  whom  some  had  pub- 
lished commentaries  upon  the  Law  of  God, 
others  had  agreed  with  them  in  their  com- 
ments, or  had  acquiesced  in  them.  In  a  word, 
he  confidently  asserted  that  the  whole  Church 
was  even  now  in  error,  and  always  had  been  in 
error,  in  that,  as  it  seemed  to  him,  it  had 
followed,  and  was  following,  ignorant  and 
misguided   teachers. 


CHAPTER   XXXH. 

The  zeal  of  Celestine  and  Sixtus,  bishops  of  Rome,  in  oppos- 
ing Novelty. 

[84.]  The  foregoing  would  be  enough  and 
very  much  more  than  enough,  to  crush  and 
annihilate  every  profane  novelty.  But  yet 
that  nothing  might  be  wanting  to  such  com- 
pleteness of  proof,  we  added,  at  the  close, 
the  twofold  authority  of  the  Apostolic  See, 
first,  that  of  holy  Pope  Sixtus,  the  venerable 
prelate  who  now  adorns  the  Roman  Church ; 
and  secondly  that  of  his  predecessor.  Pope 
Celestine  of  blessed  memory,  which  same  we 
think  it  necessary  to  insert  here  also. 

Holy  Pope  Sixtus^  then  says  in  an  Epistle 
which  he  wrote  on  Nestorius's  matter  to  the 
bishop  of  Antioch,  "Therefore,  because,  as 
the  Apostle  says,  the  faith  is  one,  —  evidently 
the  faith  which  has  obtained  hitherto,  —  let 

'  Sixtus  III.  See  the  Epistle  in  Labbe's  Concilia,  T.  iii. 
Col.  1262. 


156 


VINCENT   OF   LERINS. 


us  believe  the  things  that  are  to  be  said,  and 
say  the  things  that  are  to  be  held."  What 
are  the  things  that  are  to  be  believed  and  to 
be  said?  He  goes  on:  "Let  no  license  be 
allowed  to  novelty,  because  it  is  not  fit  that 
any  addition  should  be  made  to  antiquity. 
Let  not  the  clear  faith  and  belief  of  our  fore- 
fathers be  fouled  by  any  muddy  admixture." 
A  truly  apostolic  sentiment!  He  enhances 
the  belief  of  the  Fathers  by  the  epithet  of 
clearness;  profane  novelties  he  calls  muddy. 

[85.]  Holy  Pope  Celestine  also  expresses 
himself  in  like  manner  and  to  the  same 
effect.  For  in  the  Epistle  which  he  wrote  to 
the  priests  of  Gaul,  charging  them  with  con- 
nivance with  error,  in  that  by  their  silence 
they  failed  in  their  duty  to  the  ancient 
faith,  and  allowed  profane  novelties  to  spring 
up,  he  says :  "'  We  are  deservedly  to  blame  if 
we  encourage  error  by  silence.  Therefore 
rebuke  these  people.  Restrain  their  liberty 
of  preaching."  But  here  some  one  may 
doubt  who  they  are  whose  liberty  to  preach 
as  they  list  he  forbids, — the  preachers  of 
antiquity  or  the  devisers  of  novelty.  Let 
himself  tell  us;  let  himself  resolve  th-e 
reader's  doubt.  For  he  goes  on:  "If  the 
case  be  so  (that  is,  if  the  case  be  so  as 
certain  persons  complain  to  me  touching  your 
cities  and  provinces,  that  by  your  hurtful 
dissimulation  you  cause  them  to  consent  to 
certain  novelties),  if  the  case  be  so,  let 
novelty  cease  to  assail  antiquity."  This, 
then,  was  the  sentence  of  blessed  Celestine, 
not  that  antiquity  should  cease  to  subvert  nov- 
elty, but  that  novelty  should  cease  to  assail 
antiquity.^ 


CHAPTER   XXXin. 

The  Children  of  the  Catholic  Church  ought  to  adhere  to  the 
Faith  of  their  Fathers  and  die  for  it. 

[86.]  Whoever  then  gainsays  these  Apos- 
tolic and  Catholic  determinations,  first  of  all 
necessarily  insults  the  memory  of  holy  Celes- 
tine, who  decreed  that  novelty  should  cease 
to  assail  antiquity;  and  in  the  next  place  sets 
at  naught  the  decision  of  holy  Sixtus,  whose 
sentence  was,  "Let  no  license  be  allowed  to 
novelty,  since  it  is  not  fit  that  any  addition 
be  made  to  antiquity;"  moreover,  he  con- 
temns the  determination  of  blessed  Cyril, 
who   extolled  with   high  praise   the    zeal    of 

'  Celestine's  letter  will  be  found  in  the  appendix  to  Vol.  x. ,  Part 
II.,  of  St.  Augustine's  Works,  col.  240^,  Paris.  1S38.  See  the 
remarks  on  Vincentius's  mode  of  dealing  with  Celestine's  letter, 
Appendix  III. 


the  venerable  Capreolus,  in  that  he  would  fain 
have  the  ancient  doctrines  of  the  faith  con- 
firmed, and  novel  inventions  condemned:  yet 
more,  he  tramples  upon  the  Council  of 
Ephesus,  that  is,  on  the  decisions  of  the  holy 
bishops  of  almost  the  whole  East,  who  de- 
creed, under  divine  guidance,  that  nothing 
ought  to  be  believed  by  posterity  save  what 
the  sacred  antiquity  of  the  holy  Fathers, 
consentient  in  Christ,  had  held,  who  with  one 
voice,  and  with  loud  acclaim,  testified  that 
these  were  the  words  of  all,  this  was  the 
wish  of  all,  this  was  the  sentence  of  all, 
that  as  almost  all  heretics  before  Nestorius, 
despising  antiquity  and  upholding  novelty, 
had  been  condemned,  so  Nestorius,  the 
author  of  novelty  and  the  assailant  of  antiq- 
uity, should  be  condemned  also.  \\'hose 
consentient  determination,  in.spired  by  the 
gift  of  sacred  and  celestial  grace,  whoever 
disapproves  must  needs  hold  the  profaneness 
of  Nestorius  to  have  been  condemned  un- 
justly; finally,  he  despises  as  vile  and 
worthless  the  whole  Church  of  Christ,  and  its 
doctors,  apostles,  and  prophets,  and  especially 
the  blessed  Apostle  Paul :  he  despises  the 
Church,  in  that  she  hath  never  failed  in 
loyalty  to  the  duty  of  cherishing  and  preserv- 
ing the  faith  once  for  all  delivered  to  her; 
he  despises  St.  Paul,  who  wrote,  "O  Timothy, 
guard  the  deposit  intrusted  to  thee,  shunning 
profane  novelties  of  words;  "^  and  again,  "If 
any  man  preach  unto  you  other  than  ye  have 
received,  let  him  be  accursed."^  But  if 
neither  apostolical  injunctions  nor  ecclesias- 
tical decrees  may  be  violated,  by  which,  in 
accordance  with  the  sacred  consent  of  univer- 
sality and  antiquity,  all  heretics  always,  and, 
last  of  all,  Pelagius,  Coelestius,  and  Nestorius 
have  been  rightly  and  deservedly  condemned, 
then  assuredly  it  is  incumbent  on  all  Catho- 
lics who  are  anxious  to  approve  themselves 
genuine  sons  of  Mother  Church,  to  adhere 
henceforward  to  the  holy  faith  of  the  holy 
Fathers,  to  be  wedded  to  it,  to  die  in  it; 
but  as  to  the  profane  novelties  of  profane  men 
—  to  detest  them,  abhor  them,  oppose  them, 
give  them  no  quarter. 

[87.]  These  matters,  handled  more  at  large 
in  the  two  preceding  Common itories,  I  have 
now  put  together  more  briefly  by  way  of 
recapitulation,  in  order  that  my  memory,  to 
aid  which  I  composed  them,  may,  on  the  one 
hand,  be  refreshed  by  frequent  reference,  and, 
on  the  other,  may  avoid  being  wearied  by 
prolixity. 


-  Tim.  vi.  20. 


5  Gal.  i.  9, 


APPENDIX     I. 

Note  on  Section  41,  Page  143. 

There  is  so  close  an  agreement,  both  in  substance  and  often  in  the  form  of  expression, 
between  the  preceding  sections  (36-42)  and  the  so-called  Athanasian  Creed,  that  it  led 
Antelmi  (Nova  de  Symb.  Athanas.  Disquisiiio,)  to  ascribe  that  document  to  Vincentius 
as  its  author,  and  to  suppose  that  in  it  we  have  the  fulfilment  of  the  promise  here  referred 
to.  If,  however,  the  Creed  was  the  work  of  Vincentius,  it  cannot  well  be  the  work  promised 
at  the  close  of  §  41,  for  Vincentius's  words  point  to  a  fuller  and  more  explicit  treatment  of 
the  subjects  referred  to,  whereas  in  the  Athanasian  Creed,  though  the  subjects  are  the  same, 
the  treatment  of  them  is  very  much  briefer  and  more  concise. 

Whoever  was  the  author  however,  if  it  was  not  Vincentius,  he  must  at  least,  as  the  sub- 
joined extracts  seem  to  prove,  have  been  familiar  with  the  Commonitory,  as  also  with  St. 
Augustine's  writings,  of  which,  as  well  as  of  the  Commonitory,  the  Creed  bears  evident  traces. 

I  subjoin  the  following  instances  of  agreement  between  the  Commonitory  and  the 
Creed :  Antelmi  gives  several  others. 


COMMONITORY, 


ATHANASIAN    CREED. 


Unum    Christum   Jesum,    non    duos,    eum-  Est  ergo  Fides  recta,  ut  credamus  et  con- 

demque  Deum  pariter  atque  Hominem   con-  fiteamur,  quia  Dominus  noster  Jesus  Christus, 

fitetur.      §36.  Dei  Filius,  Deus  pariter  et  Homo  est.     v.  28. 

Alia    est    Persona    Patris,    alia    Filii,   alia  Alia   est   Persona   Patris,   alia   Filii,    alia 

Spiritus  Sancti.      §  37.  Spiritus  Sancti.     v.  5. 

Unus   idemque  Christus,    Deus    et    Homo,  Deus   ex    substantia    Patris,    ante    ssecula 

Idem  Patri  et  a;qualis  et  minor,  Idem  ex  Patre  genitus.     Homo    ex    substantia     Matris,     in 

ante  sscula  genitus,  Idem  in  saeculo  ex  Matre  saeculo  natus;  perfectus  Deus  perfectus  Homo, 

generatus,  perfectus    Deus,  perfectus    Homo.  vv.  29,  30. 

§37- 

Unus,  non  corruptibili  nescio  qua  Divini-  Unus  omnino,  non  conversione  substantias, 

talis  et  Humanitatis  confusione,  sed  integra  et  sed  unitate  Personse.     v,  34. 
singulari  quadam  unitate  Personse.      §  37. 

Sicut  Verbum  in  came  caro,  ita  Homo  in  Unus,  non  conversione  Divinitatis  in  carne, 

Deo  Deus  est.     §  40.  sed  Adsumptione  Humanitatis  in  Deo*^  v.  33. 

1  This  is  probably  the  true  reading. 


157 


APPENDIX    II. 

Note  on  Section  69,  Page  149. 

That  Vincentius  had  Augustine  and  his  adherents  in  view  in  this  description  will  hardly  be 
doubted  by  any  one  who  will  compare  it  with  the  following  extracts,  the  first  from  Prosper's 
letter  to  Augustine,^  giving  him  an  account  of  the  complaints  made  against  his  doctrine  by 
the  Massilian  clergy;  the  second  from  St.  Augustine's  treatise,  *'  De  dono  Perseveranti  "^ 
written  in  consequence  of  it. 

COMMONITORY,   §  69.  PROSPER   TO   AUGUSTINE. 

"Si  quis  interroget  quempiam  haereticorum  "The  Massilian  clergy  complain,"  he  says, 
sibi  talia  persuadentem,  Unde  probas,  unde  "  Romoveri  omnc7n  indusiriatn,  tollique  vir- 
doces  quod  Ecclesiae  Catholicae  universalem  tutes,  si  Dei  constitutio  humanus  prseveniat 
et  antiquam  fidem  dimittere  debeam?     Statim   voluntates."     §3. 

ille,  '  Scriptmn  est  enim,'  et  continuo  ynille  tes-  Then  referring  to  the  teaching  of  the  Massil- 
tiffionia,  mille  exe7npla,  milk  auctoritates  parat  ians  themselves.  Prosper  continues, 
de  Lege,  de  Psah?us,  de  Aposfolis,  de  Prophetis,  "Ad  conditionem  banc  velint  uniuscujusque 
quibus,  novo  et  malo  more  interpretatis,  ex  hominis  pertinere,  ut  ad  cognitionem  Dei  et 
arce  Catholica  in  haereseos  barathrum  infelix  ad  obedientiam  mandatorum  Ejus  possit  suam 
anima  praecipitetur.  Audent  enim  polliceri  dirigere  voluntatem,  et  ad  banc  gratiam  qua 
et  docere,  quod  in  Ecclesia  sua,  id  est,  in  in  Christo  renascimur  pervenire,  per  natu- 
communionis  suae  conventiculo,  fnagna  et  ralem  scilicet  facultatem,  pete7ido,  qiKxrendo, 
specialis  ac  plafie  persotialis  quaedam  sit   Dei  pulsando.'''' 

gratia,  adeo  ut  sine  ullo  labore,  sine  ullo  Referring  to  the  line  of  argument  pursued 
studio,  sine  icUa  industria,  etiamsi  nee  petant,  by  himself  and  others  of  Augustine's  friends 
nee  qiKErant,  nee  pulsent,  quicunque  illi  ad  and  the  Massilian  way  of  dealing  with  it,  he 
numerum  suum  pertinent,  tamen  ita  divinitus  says,  "  Et  cum  contra  eos  ScriptaBeatitudinis 
dispensentur,  ut,  angelicis  evecti  manibus,  id  tuas  validissimis  et  innumeris  testitnoniis  JDiri- 
est,  angelica  protectione  servati,  nunquam  narutn  Scripturarum  instriicta  proferimus, 
possint  offendere  ad  lapidem  pedem  suum,  id  ...  obstinatioiiem  suam.  vetustate  defendunt.^^ 
est,  nunquam  scandalizari."  §  3, 

St.  Augustine  replies  to  Prosper  not  in  an 
ordinary  letter,  but  in  two  short  Treatises, 
which  must  have  been  written  immediately 
after  its  receipt,  for  he  died  in  August  430, 
the  first  entitled  "  De  Praedestinatione  Sanc- 
torum," the  second  "De  Dono  Perseverantiae." 
The  following  extract  is  from  the  latter: 
"Attendant  ergo  quomodo  falluntur  qui  pu- 
tant  Esse  a  nobis,  non  dart  Jiobis,  ut  peta??ius, 
quceramus,  pulsemus.  Et  hoc  esse,  dicunt, 
quod  gratia  praeceditur  merito  nostro,  ut 
sequatur  ilia  cum  aecipimus  pctctites,  et  inveni- 
mus  qucerentes,  aperiturque  pulsantibus.  Nee 
volunt  intelligere  etiam  hoc  divini  muneris 
esse  ut  oremus,  hoc  est,  petamus,  quceramus, 
atque pulsamus, " —  De'Dono  Fersev.  c.  23,  §  64. 

Vincentius's  language  is  in  keeping  with  that  of  others  of  St.  Augustine's  opponents,  as 
Cassian  and  Faustus,  extracts  from  whom  are  given  by  Noris;  only,  as  he  observes,  while 
Vincentius  uses  the  term  "heresy"  of  the  doctrine  impugned, — they  are  content  to  use 
the  milder  term  "error."  —  Histor.  Pelag.  p.  246. 

'  Inter  Epistolas  S.  August.  Ep.  225.  Tom.  ii.  and  again  Tom,  x.  col.  1327.  '  Opera  ix.  col.  1S33. 

158 


I 


APPENDIX    III. 

Note  on  Section  85,  Page  156. 

Celestine's  letter  was  addressed  to  certain  Bishops  of  Southern  Gaul,  who  are  particular- 
ized by  name. 

It  appears  that  Prosper  and  Hilary  had  made  a  journey  to  Rome,  where  they  then  were, 
for  the  purpose  of  complaining  to  Celestine  of  the  connivance  of  certain  bishops  of  South- 
ern Gaul  with  the  unsound  teaching  of  their  clergy.  They  complained  too  of  the  disre- 
spectful manner  in  which  these  same  clergy  treated  the  memory  of  Augustine,  then  recently 
deceased. 

Celestine  writes  to  these  bishops:  blames  their  connivance  with  a  fault,  which,  says  he, 
by  their  silence  they  make  their  own,  and  then  proceeds  to  charge  them,  as  in  the  passage 
quoted  in  the  text,  ''Rebuke  these  people:  restrain  their  liberty  of  preaching.  If  the  case 
be  so,  let  novelty  cease  to  assail  antiquity,  let  restlessness  cease  to  disturb  the  Church's 
peace."  Then,  after  some  further  exhortation,  he  adds,  "We  cannot  wonder  at  their  thus 
assailing  the  living,  when  they  do  not  shrink  from  seeking  to  asperse  the  memory  of  the 
departed.  With  Augustine,  whom  all  men  everywhere  loved  and  honoured,  we  ever  held 
communion.  Let  a  stop  be  put  to  this  spirit  of  disparagement,  which  unhappily  is  on  the 
increase." 

The  manner  in  which  Vincentius  deals  with  this  letter  has  been  very  commonly  thought, 
and  with  reason,  to  indicate  a  Semipelagian  leaning.^  His  "si  ita  est,"  "if  the  case  be 
so,"  emphasized  by  being  repeated  again  and  again,  quite  in  an  excited  manner,  as  we 
should  say,  shows  an  evident  wish  to  shift  the  charge  of  novelty  from  those  against  whom  it 
had  been  brought,  and  fix  it  upon  the  opposite  party.  "Who  are  the  introducers  of  novelty? 
The  Massilians,  as  Prosper  represents  them,  or  their  calumniators?  Not  the  Massilians: 
they  notoriously  appeal  to  antiquity, — not  the  Massilians,  but  Prosper  and  the  rest  of 
Augustine's  followers." 

The  feeling  with  regard  to  Augustine,  on  the  part  of  the  Massilian  clerg)%  as  indicated 
in  Celestine's  letter,  is  quite  in  accordance  with  the  animus  of  §  69  above.  See  the  note 
on  that  place,  and  see  Noris's  remarks,  pp.  246-248. 

y  ~~  ~~  '    ' 

1  £■£■.  "  Hunc  locum  Vincentius  Lirinensis  sic  a  vero  sensu  contra  Prosperum  et  Hilarium  detorquet,  ut  ipse  hand  injuria  in  elroris 
Semipelagiani  suspicionem  veniat."  The  Benedictine  editor  of  St.  Augustine's  works  on  Celestine's  letter,  Tom.  x.  col.  2403.  To  the 
same  purpose,  among  others,  Card.  Norris,  HUtor.  Pelag.,  246.  Vossius,  Hisior.  Pelag.  Tillemont,  T.  xv.  pp.  145,  862. 
Neander,  Church  History,  iv.  p.  388. 


THE  WORKS  OF  JOHN  CASSIAN. 


TRANSLATED, 


WITH    PROLEGOMENA,  PREFACES,  AND   NOTES, 


BY 


REV.  EDGAR   C.  S.  GIBSON,  M.A., 

PRINCIPAL    OF  THE   THEOLOGICAL   COLLEGE,  WELLS,  SOMERSET. 


CONTENTS. 


THE  INSTITUTES   OF  THE  CCENOBIA. 
BOOK   I. 

OF   THE  DRESS  OF   THE   MONKS. 

PAGE 

Chapter  I.  —  Of  the  monk's  girdle 201 

Chapter  II.  —  Of  the  monk's  robe 202 

Chapter  III.  —  Of  the  hoods  of  the  Egyptians. 202 

Chapter  IV.  —  Of  the  tunics  of  the  Egyptians 203 

Chapter  V.  —  Of  their  cords 203 

Chapter  VI.  —  Of  their  capes 203 

Chapter  VII.  —  Of  the  sheepskin  and  the  goatskin 203 

Chapter  VIII.  —  Of  the  staff  of  the  Egyptians 203 

Chapter  IX.  —  Of  their  shoes 204 

Chapter  X.  — Of  the  modification  in  the  observances  which  may  be  permitted  in  accordance  with  the  char- 
acter of  the  climate  or  the  custom  of  the  district  • 204 

Chapter  XI.  —  Of  the  spiritual  girdle  and  its  mystical  meaning 204 


BOOK   II. 

OF   THE   canonical   SYSTEM   OF  THE   NOCTURNAL  PRAYERS   AND   PSALMS. 

Chapter  I.  —  Of  the  canonical  system  of  the  nocturnal  prayers  and  Psalms 205 

Chapter  II.  — Of  the  difference  of  the  number  of  Psalms  appointed  to  be  sung  in  all  the  provinces 205 

Chapter  III.  —  Of  the  observance  of  one  uniform  rule  throughout  the  whole  of  Egypt,  and  of  the  election 

of  those  who  are  set  over  the  brethren 205 

Chapter  IV.  —  How  throughout  the  whole  of  Egypt  and  the  Thebaid  the  number  of    Psalms  is   fixed  at 

twelve 206 

Chapter  V.  —  How  the  fact  that  the  number  of  the  Psalms  was  to  be  twelve  was  received  from  the  teaching 

of  an  angel 206 

Chapter  VI.  —  Of  the  custom  of  having  twelve  prayers 207 

Chapter  VII.  —  Of  their  method  of  praying 207 

Chapter  VIII.  — Of  the  prayer  which  follows  the  Psalm *.....  208 

Chapter  IX. — Of  the  characteristics  of  the  prayer,  the  fuller  treatment  of  which  is  reserved  for  the  Con- 
ferences of  the  Elders 208 

Chapter  X.  — Of  the  silence  and  conciseness  with  which  the  Collects  are  offered  up  by  the  Egyptians 209 

Chapter  XI.  — Of  the  system  according  to  which  the  Psalms  are  said  among  the  Egyptians 209 

Chapter  XII.  — Of  the  reason  why  while  one  sings  the  Psalms  the  rest  sit  down  during  the  service;   and  of 

the  zeal  with  which  they  afterwards  prolong  their  vigils  in  their  cells  till  daybreak 210 

Chapter  XIII.  —  The  reason  why  they  are  not  allowed  to  go  to  sleep  after  the  night  service 210 

Chapter  XIV.  —  Of  the  way  in  which  they  devote  themselves  in  their  cells  equally  to  manual  labour  and  to 

prayer 211 

Chapter  XV.  —  Of  the  discreet  rule  by  which  every  one  must  retire  to  his  cell  after  the  close  of  the  prayers; 

and  of  the  rebuke  to  which  any  one  who  does  otherwise  is  subject 211 

Chapter  XVI.  —  How  no  one  is  allowed  to  pray  with  one  who  has  been  suspended  from  prayer 211 

Chapter  XVII.  —  How  he  who  rouses  them  for  prayer  ought  to  call  them  at  the  usual  time 212 

Chapter  XVIII.  —  How  they  do  not  kneel  from  the  evening  of  Saturday  till  the  evening  of  Sunday 212 


BOOK   III. 

OF   THE   CANONICAL   SYSTEM   OF  THE   DAILY   PRAYERS   AND   PSALMS. 

Chapter  I.  —  Of  the  services  of  the  Third,  Sixth,  and  Ninth  hours,  which  are  observed  in  the  regions  of 
Syria 

Chapter  II.  —  How  among  the  Egyptians  they  apply  themselves  all  daylong  to  prayer  and  Psalms  con- 
tinually with  the  addition  of  work,  without  distinction  of  hours 212 

163 


212 


1 64 


CONTENTS. 


PAGE 

Chapter  III. — How  throughout  all  the  East  the  services  of  Tierce,  Sext  and  None  are  ended  with  only 
three  Psalms  and  prayers  each;  and  the  reasons  why  these  spiritual  offices  are  assigned  more  particularly 
to  those  hours 213 

Chapter  IV.  —  How  the  Mattin  Office  was  not  appointed  by  an  ancient  tradition,  but  was  started  in  our  own 

day  for  a  definite  reason 215 

Chapter  V.  —  How  they  ought  not  to  go  back  to  bed  again  after  the  Mattin  prayers 215 

Chapter  VI.  —  How  no  change  was  made  by  the  Elders  in  the  ancient  system  of  Psalms  when  the  Mattin 

office  was  instituted 216 

Chapter  VII.  —  How  one  who  does  not  come  to  the  daily  prayer  before  the  end  of  the  first  Psalm  is  not 
allowed  to  enter  the  Oratory;  but  at  Nocturns  a  late  arrival  up  to  the  end  of  the  second  Psalm  can  be 
overlooked 216 

Chapter  VIII. — Of  the  Vigil  service  which  is  celebrated  on  the  evening  preceding  the  Sabbath;    of  its 

length,  and  the  manner  in  which  it  is  observed 216 

Chapter  IX.  —  The  reason  why  a  vigil  is  appointed  as  the  Sabbath  day  dawns,  and  why  a  dispensation  from 

fasting  is  enjoyed  on  the  Sabbath  all  through  the  East 217 

Chapter  X.  —  How  it  was  brought  about  that  they  fast  on  the  Sabbath  in  the  city 218 

Chapter  XI.  — Of  the  points  in  which  the  service  held  on  Sunday  differs  from  what  is  customary  on  other  days 

Chapter  XII.  — Of  the  days  on  which,  when  supper  is  provided  for  the  brethren,  a  Psalm  is  not  said  as  they 

assemble  for  the  meal,  as  is  usual  at  dinner 218 


BOOK  IV. 

OF   THE    INSTITUTES   OF    THE    RENUNCIANTS. 

Chapter  I.  —  Of  the  training  of  those  who